Area copes with aftermath of heavy rains, flooding

Published 11:35 am Saturday, June 22, 2024

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Heavy rains that fell overnight and in the days prior have swelled local waterways creating havoc across the southeastern Minnesota and close to home.

Rising waters have closed portions of Interstate 90 in Mower County and other places of southeastern Minnesota as well as in portions of southwestern Minnesota. Water has also affected roads through out the county and in one instance the Austin Fire Department had to rescue someone from a car, who had attempted to drive through water that was up to the headlights.

The rescue came around 8 a.m. Saturday morning on County 46 running along Interstate 90. Mower County Sheriff Steve Sandvik said the person had been stranded in the car for approximately 30 minutes before AFD could reach them.

Email newsletter signup

“We’ve stopped and warned a lot of people about driving around barricades,” Sandvik said.

Locations on Country Road 14 have been covered, but have since receded, however, in LeRoy, Sandvik said the Upper Iowa River was on the rise and threatening to close County 14 on the north edge of the community. Sandvik said that on the east side of town water had risen to within 20-30 yards of homes.

In Austin, water from the Cedar River and other bodies have been causing problems on the east of the city. Water has completely inundated Oakland Place SE reaching nearly to 11th Street SE as well as stretching west. Downtown city crews shut down the intersection of Oakland Avenue East and Fourth Street NE as waters rose and a ditch running between Sixth Avenue SE and a side road had overrun its edges and flooded streets.

The National Weather Service is now predicting the Cedar River will peak at 21 feet just after midnight, a foot over major flood levels at 20 feet. At around 10:30 a.m. Saturday morning, the river was at 17.90 feet. Turtle Creek is expected to peak at 14.20 feet and was at 11.90 feet at around 10:30 a.m.

According to the NWS, much of the area has received well over two inches of rain, with observations in Austin coming in close to four inches of rain with isolated amounts totaling as high as five and six inches.

The area remains under a flood warning until around 10 a.m. on Monday morning. While the chance of rain is diminishing, rivers and creeks will continue to rise causing problems throughout the day and into Sunday.

Law enforcement in both Austin and the county advise people not to risk driving through high water and not to drive around barriers.