Flash flood watch issued

Published 10:01 am Thursday, June 11, 2015

The Minnesota Department of Transportation advises travelers to drive with caution in southeastern Minnesota due to forecasted heavy rains today.

The National Weather Service has issued a flash flood watch for the southeastern Minnesota counties of Dodge, Fillmore, Freeborn, Goodhue, Houston, Mower, Olmsted, Rice, Steele, Wabasha and Winona.

Officials warned that roads may be closed or restricted without warning as flash flooding is difficult to predict. They also advised motorists to watch for cones and barrels on the roadways as they indicate potential hazards where damage occurred during the recent flooding.

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Every flood is dangerous. If you must travel, follow these safe driving practices:

Check www.511mn.org before traveling for information on road conditions, closures and detour routes.

Expect the unexpected – flash floods can occur anytime, anywhere.

Do not drive around barricades or into flooded areas.

If floodwaters rise around your car, abandon the car and move to higher ground, if you can do so safely.

Six inches of water will reach the bottom of most passenger cars, causing loss of control and possible stalling. A foot of water will float many vehicles. Two feet of rushing water can carry away most vehicles including sport utility vehicles and pick-ups.

When a road is closed it is illegal to travel in that area. Motorists can be fined up to $1,000 and/or 90 days in jail. In addition, if travelers need to be rescued from a closed road, other expenses and penalties will apply.

The flash flood watch issued by the National Weather Service is from this afternoon into late evening hours. Flash flooding could occur tonight into Friday morning, the weather service said.

For additional updates, like MnDOT at www.facebook.com/mndot or follow @mndotsoutheast on Twitter.