Heavy rain from thunderstorms led to severe flooding and numerous road closures late on Tuesday night all across northern Minnesota, including in Duluth, where officials reported 'extensive damage' from the floodwaters early on Wednesday morning.
AccuWeather.com has been warning the Upper Midwest of the risk of flash and urban flooding since early last week.
Both radar estimates and ground observations have indicated more than a half a foot of rain has fallen as of early on Wednesday morning over a large portion of north-central and northeastern Minnesota, with most of the rain falling over the course of just a few hours' time.
Overnight Tuesday, police in Duluth banned all non-essential travel due to the flooding, which submerged numerous vehicles, leading to water rescues. Some manhole covers were blown off by the pressure of the water in the city, while sinkholes swallowed cars whole.
Mudslides and road collapses were also reported.
In a rare civil emergency bulletin issued overnight, Duluth Police announced that residents in a neighborhood near the Fond du Lac dam were being evacuated. While no threat of a dam failure was imminent, power crews were releasing water to ease the pressure on the structure.
A portion of Interstate 35, Highway 23 and major downtown tunnels were closed Wednesday.
According to the Duluth News Tribune, there were also reports that animals, including a polar bear, escaped from enclosures at the Lake Superior Zoo as floodwaters rose.
Residents and officials are comparing the ongoing situation to flooding that occurred in August 1972 which devastated the city.
After a period of above-average temperatures dominated most of the Midwest and Northeast during much of April thus far, a complete reversal in the weather pattern is evolving this week.
A new round of thunderstorms will bring the risk of severe weather across parts of Texas and Oklahoma to the lower Mississippi Valley by the middle of the week.
Due to the positive feedback, the National Weather Service has expanded their former, experimental Impact Based Warnings to include the Southern region for the spring of 2015.
As residents are far from over with the recent cold winter across the Great Lakes, Mother Nature will bring the return of snowflakes to the region this week.
Global warming and climate change, two terms that are treated synonymously in most media coverage and casual debate, have been shown to spark different reactions from the American public.
Following strong to locally severe thunderstorms in part of the South Central states at midweek, the risk of violent storms will increase over the region on Friday.
Havre, MT (1967)
17" of snow.
Midland, TX (1989)
101 degrees -- first 100 degree or higher reading in April since 1930.
Eastern New England (1991)
Deepening coastal storm: central pressure near 29.00", 55 mph winds and 3.32" of rain at Boston. Portland, ME, had 1.54" of rain in three hours. Two homes in Manchester, NH, partially unroofed. Wind gust to 128 mph on Mt. Washington. Final rain total for Portland was 4.21".