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Heavy storms lead to flash flooding in central Minnesota

ALEXANDRIA, Minn. -- The rain came quickly Monday morning, flooding low-lying areas, but didn't cause any serious damage as it moved through Douglas County in central Minnesota.

ALEXANDRIA, Minn. -- The rain came quickly Monday morning, flooding low-lying areas, but didn’t cause any serious damage as it moved through Douglas County in central Minnesota.

“We had a few trees down, and some roads had water over top of them but the water receded fairly quickly,” said Troy Wolbersen, Douglas County sheriff and Emergency Management director. “As far as reports we received, it was nothing too serious.”

Though serious damage was minimal, the heavy rainfall did flood parking lots and prompted a flash flood warning for southern Douglas County.

According to the National Weather Service, rainfall rates of 3 inches per hour were observed in Alexandria, with 2 to 4 inches of rain falling in 90 minutes. The rain ended about 7 a.m. Monday.

As mid-morning rolled around, residents in Alexandria were out assessing the extent of the flooding.

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Part of Ninth Avenue next to Legion Park was blocked to through traffic due to standing water. Also next to Legion Park, the parking lot of Viking Towers was hit particularly hard, as water from surrounding blocks tends to drain into the lower area.

Tim Scott, a 13-year resident of the apartment building, spent part of the morning surveying the damage to his vehicle. Though the vehicle was not running, a few of the lights were on, indicating that the electrical system sustained water damage.

“I just saw my car this morning when I woke up and went down here to check it out,” he said. “There’s not much I can do at this time, until the water goes down.”

The partially-submerged vehicle has only been Scott’s for two weeks, and he was awarded it through the Douglas County Car Care Program, which assists individuals in Douglas County with transportation needs by providing a donated vehicle or repairing an existing vehicle.

“I just hope all the other cars are OK,” Scott said. “I hope mine is OK.”

According to Scott, the same lot flooded about 12 years ago and his vehicle suffered substantial damage, never running the same again.

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The hope is that the storm drain construction taking place on the west side of Broadway helps to avoid this type of flooding in the future.

As for the other construction projects in town, the heavy rain won’t have much of an impact on the 50th Avenue/Interstate 94 work going on in south Alexandria, according to Jeremiah Moerke, public affairs coordinator with the Minnesota Department of Transportation. It would have if it would have happened when crews were ripping up 50th Avenue and the ramps, but they are now focusing on replacing the bridge.

Moerke added that the rain led to some cleanup work but it will not impact the project’s timeline.

While the storm was strong in rain, lightning was also nearly constant and reportedly a strike caused a fire on the south side of Lake Reno in Lowry.

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