A Ford Ranger splashes through a puddle Tuesday afternoon on East Main Street near Hanson Tire Service. -- Tim Engstrom/Albert Lea Tribune

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Albert Lea area is in flood warning

Published 9:46am Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The National Weather Service extended a flood warning this morning to include the Albert Lea area.

Much of southern Minnesota and parts of northern Iowa are under flood warnings issued by various bureaus of the National Weather Service. The Mankato area and other susceptible places along rivers had been in flood warnings already.

Rain and melting snow will cause waters to rise Tuesday and Wednesday, possibly causing floods and runoff. Several creeks and streams across the region already are out of their banks.

Minnesota counties under flood warnings Tuesday are Martin, Freeborn, Faribault, Watonwan, Steele, Waseca, Blue Earth, Nicollet, Brown, Rice, Le Sueur, Redwood, Goodhue, Sibley, Mower, Lac qui Parle, Yellow Medicine, Lyon, Jackson, Cottonwood, Chippewa, Kandiyohi, Meeker, McLeod, Wright, Carver, Hennepin, Ramsey, Washington, Scott, Dakota and Wright.

Iowa counties under flood warnings Tuesday are Worth, Cerro Gordo, Mitchell, Floyd, Butler, Bremer, Black Hawk, Kossuth, Humboldt, Emmet, Dickinson, Clay, Buena Vista, Lyon, Sioux and Plymouth.

The flood warning for the Albert Lea area is in effect until 3:30 p.m. Wednesday. The forecast says the storm will bring an inch of rain. Some roadways are covered with water. For instance, East Main Street in Albert Lea near McDonald’s and Hanson Tire Service as of Tuesday morning had water on the roadway — usually the city’s first sign of high water.

Near Austin, Turtle Creek reached 10.9 feet — its highest point — on Sunday night. On Monday, it dropped back below flood stage of 10.5 feet, according to a hydrological monitor.

The creek could rise above flood stage Tuesday and crest at 12 feet on Wednesday. The creek dumps into the Cedar River in Austin and begins at Geneva Lake in Freeborn County.