The rains that triggered widespread flooding in southeastern Minnesota last weekend smashed a state rainfall record for a 24-hour period, according to the National Weather Service. It broke the old record by more than 4 inches.

A Naitonal Weather Service gauge near the town of Hokah in Houston County had 15.1 inches of rainwater in it when measured at 8 a.m. Sunday morning. The previous record -- set in July 1972 at Fort Ripley, Minn., in the central part of the state -- was 10.84 inches.

Mark Seeley, Extension climatologist at the University of Minnesota, said that the state has had only three 24-hour rainfalls of 10 inches or more in the last 200 years.

The big question, Seely told the Star Tribune, is whether the record rainfall was just a fluke or a sign of things to come due to a changing climate.