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Record-breaking rain soaks Grand Forks area

Greater Grand Forks residents were greeted Wednesday morning by stormy skies that dumped inches of rain on the city though the early afternoon. The area was soaked with moderate to heavy rain from a storm that hung over Grand Forks for the mornin...

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Allen LeBlanc waits for a tow truck for his daughter's car, stranded in street flooding at the intersection of South 17th Street and 30th Avenue South in Grand Forks, during Wednesday morning's downpour. Photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald

Greater Grand Forks residents were greeted Wednesday morning by stormy skies that dumped inches of rain on the city though the early afternoon.

The area was soaked with moderate to heavy rain from a storm that hung over Grand Forks for the morning and early afternoon and seemed mainly to be dropping rain into the cities.

By 3 p.m., overall precipitation in the city was at 2.5 inches, but Bill Barrett, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service said totals varied with location. The south end of Grand Forks near 62nd Avenue South, recorded 3.62 inches of rain, while Belmont Road near Lincoln Park reported 3.63 inches.

The weather service recorded 3.21 inches at its headquarters, breaking the previous record for June 28 of 1.81 inches, set in 1894. The airport had 3.21 inches while the old record was 3.21 inches in 1982.

Other cities in the region reported less precipitation. Thief River Falls saw only 0.68 inches and Devils Lake 0.87. Hatton, N.D., and Devils Lake saw the most rain in the region aside from Grand Forks with 2.95 and 1.9 inches, respectively.

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Grand Forks Police had reports Wednesday morning of street flooding on 30th Avenue South and South 17th Street, which were blocked by the Grand Forks Street Department to keep motorists from driving through the deep waters.

“There were areas there that were fairly deep, where cars were struggling to get through,” said Lt. Bill Macki. “Some vehicles struggling to get through intersections and the curb lines were full of water.”

By mid-morning, Macki said the water had fallen and streets were mostly back to normal.

High water in the streets also hit 24th Avenue South between Washington Street and South 20th Street. Mark Aubol, Grand Forks street department manager, said that is common in the area bordered by Columbia Road, Washington Street, 32nd Avenue and 24th Street, because of those streets’ smaller drainage pipes.

Aubol said in most places that the water had receded by 3 p.m. but that there were still some streets blocked off.

The flash flood is not out of the ordinary and city workers usually have to close streets at least once a summer, Aubol said.

“We would ask people to respect the barricades and if they come across one in their travels just to find an alternate route. That would certainly be beneficial to them and to the street department who is trying to help clear out the flooding,” said Macki.

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Motorists navigate through street flooding on South Washington Street Wednesday. Photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald

Related Topics: WEATHERGFH INSTAGRAM
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