September 2016 Northern Plains Floods

Science Center Objects

Learn more about USGS flood activities related to the September 2016 Northern Plains Floods when more than 12 inches of rain fell in northeast Iowa, southeast Minnesota, and southwest Wisconsin during a 24-hour period on September 22 and 23, 2016.

Streams in Iowa experienced major flooding, forcing evacuations of communities in the Cedar River basin, particularly along the Shell Rock River. 24 USGS streamgages exceeded the National Weather Service (NWS) flood stage in Iowa, with annual exceedance probabilities at less than 1% (greater than a 100-year flood). State disaster declarations were made for 13 Iowa counties. USGS personnel in Iowa installed backup stage sensors and a temporary streamgage to maintain the flow of data during this event.

Initial news reports in Minnesota included many inundated or washed out roads south of the Twin Cities from Waseca to Kenyon along the Zumbro River. There were also reports of mudslides. The USGS Minnesota Water Science Center dispatched crews to make discharge measurements and collect sediment samples.

Wisconsin streamgages saw floods in the 10- to 100-year range.


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