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Rivers Along North Shore Overflowing After Large Rainfall

Originally published May 13, 2022

DULUTH, Minn. (WCCO) -- Officials with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources say that the rivers on the North Shore along Lake Superior are overflowing following significant rainfall totals amid the spring snowmelt season.

"Our first priority is ensuring public safety and the safety of our staff," Ann Pierce, Parks and Trails Division director, said. "Last night's severe storms, paired with the late-spring melt, caused rivers to flood. These waters are dangerous and unpredictable and have the power to sweep away anything. Please stay safe by staying away from these areas."

There are also closures affecting Gooseberry Falls, Tettegouche, George H. Crosby Manitou, Temperance River, Cascade River and Judge C.R. Magney state parks and portions of the Gitchi-Gami and North Shore state trails and the Superior Hiking Trail.

"In the past 48 hours, between 1-2" of rain fell in Cook County," Kjersti Vick, with Visit Cook County, said. "The rivers along the North Shore of Lake Superior are now bursting with water at levels not seen in decades."

Vick shared images of the waterfalls on the Cascade River to show the dramatic difference in the last week. The first photo showed the river as of May 4.

2022 5.4 - Cascade River in Lutsen (4)
(credit: Kjersti Vick)

The second showed the river as of Friday.

2022 5.13 - Cascade River - Over 2 inches of rain in a 48 hour period (1)
(credit: Kjersti Vick)

The delayed snowmelt and heavy rains are leading to some disruptions to travel routes. Drivers are urged to check conditions with the U.S. Forest Service or Cook County Highway Department.

Several roads in St. Louis County are closed due to the heavy rains and washouts. The roads include sections of McArthur Road, Three Lakes Road, Brimson Toimi Road, Swan Lake Road, Shipley Road.

Cloquet Police issued a flood warning  until 4 p.m. Wednesday, as the St. Louis River at Scanlon is expected to ruse to 11.6 feet overnight Saturday, while the flood stage is at 10.5 feet.

Moderate flooding at Sauk River in St. Cloud was reported on Saturday.

Shipley Road
Credit: St. Louis County

There have been more than 200 severe thunderstorm and tornado warnings across Minnesota and western Wisconsin between Monday and Thursday of this week.

After such a dramatic stretch of summer-like storms, more mild weather is in store for the weekend, which marks the fishing opener in Minnesota.

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