North Shore rivers rage after heavy rain on top of snowmelt

A flood warning was in effect for parts of Lake and Cook counties Friday due to heavy rain that fell on top of melting snow Thursday night, a combination that has pushed many streams well beyond their usual high-water marks.

Upland areas in Cook and Lake counties are experiencing road washouts and closures. Some rivers were nearly washing over Highway 61 along the North Shore. Ann Pierce, Minnesota parks and trails division director, advised people to steer clear of danger, with portions of state trails and parks temporarily closed.

I’m just blown away by the volume of water on the Cascade. You can usually walk up to that cedar tree across the river. I’ll post a photo of the same spot in the next tweet in this thread.

— Bryan Hansel (@bryanhansel) May 13, 2022

“Our first priority is ensuring public safety and the safety of our staff,” she 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.”

Parks and trails affected by the closures include 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. The DNR recommends visitors to any of these state parks or trails check with park staff about current conditions.

Superior National Forest officials note that some campgrounds and boat landings have been flooded out in recent days and may be unusable for the fishing opener.

One Facebook post appeared to show the Superior Hiking Trail bridge over the Baptism River in Tettegouche State park washing out.

“In the past 48 hours, between 1-2 inches of rain fell in Cook County, which is still in the midst of peak winter snowmelt and waterfall season. The rivers along the North Shore of Lake Superior are now bursting with water at levels not seen in decades,” Kjersti Vick, marketing and public relations director for Visit Cook County, said Friday in a statement.

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