Monday Storms Lead to Large Cleanup

Created: 06/17/2014 7:35 PM
By: John Doetkott

Monday night’s storm caused widespread damage throughout southern Minnesota and northern Iowa, with wind taking out trees and power lines, not to mention heavy rains causing area rivers and streams to swell.

Driesner Park in Austin might as well be a lake, as water from Dobbins Creek has spilled over its banks and flooded the area.

As water continues to run off into the region’s creeks and streams, those water levels are only rising. 

"Our flood stages are still climbing,” said Justin Hanson, a water specialist with the Cedar River Watershed District. “We haven't seen that crest yet on the tributaries that are coming in through Austin."

Hanson said while there was little risk to area homes and businesses as of Tuesday morning, the chance for more flash flooding is particularly bad because of a lack of vegetation in area farmland.

"Most of the crops are in and coming up right now, but it's not like getting this in the middle of July or something when it's really going to slow the water down substantially,” Hanson said. “It's going to run off pretty fast and get into our streams pretty quick."

It wasn't rain, but wind that was the real problem in the small community of Maple Island, Minnesota, near Hollandale, where straight line winds reached upwards of 60 miles per hour.

A large pole barn was reduced to a pile of wood and twisted metal after strong winds ripped off the heavy metal roof and threw it about 40 feet in one spot.

Those who work nearby said it's a storage facility and thankfully no one was hurt.

Elsewhere in town, snapped branches and uprooted trees blocked roads and took down power lines.

It was much of the same in Albert Lea where crews worked throughout the afternoon to fix power lines damaged in the storm.

On Fountain Lake, the rain raised water levels to the point where many docks are now submerged, prompting officials to issue a no wake order.

Experts said if area water levels rise much more, we could see some homes and businesses being threatened. But with too many factors at play, Hanson said it's impossible to predict what might happen.

"There's rain forecasted throughout the rest of the week,” Hanson said. “So pinpointing how this is going to go is pretty difficult to do."

Photo: ABC 6 News