Mississippi River flooding takes its toll

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(ABC 6 News) The flooding is leaving people speechless. It’s some of the largest that some people have ever seen, including father and son photographers Phil and Brad Breutzman.

“This is the highest so far” Phil stated.

Also among those impacted are couple Dennis and Sue Rabe, who recently moved to southeast Minnesota and have been married 48 years.

Sue describes “We were on a horseback ride, and where we usually go, we came around the corner, and it was completely flooded.”

Dennis was a farmer for his career, and he is noticing how much farmers are being impacted. “Farmland is getting flooded. Two miles across is all underwater. It’s got to be 1000 acres maybe more.”

Phil, meanwhile, grew up just across the river in Wisconsin.

“I’ve been here for a long time. I’m only about 93 years old now.”

The river stages are sitting at just over 17 feet. If they stay where they are, it would be the fourth highest crest on record according to the National Weather Service (NWS).

A big reason for this is a lot of snow melt. Due to the hilly terrain around the Mississippi River, any snow melting into water feeds directly into the river. Combined that with Duluth’s snowiest season ever, feeding way more water into the river than normal, and you get flood warnings that span all the way from the Twin Cities to just north of St. Louis.

Brad Breutzman knows it’s going to take a while for the flooding to simmer down. “I see a lot of water damage. To say the least, they’re probably going to have water damage for another week it looks like.”

According to the NWS, we will see the river stage crest, which means the water will be at its highest, over the next couple days before we will see the water level go down through the second half of the week and into the weekend. Based on a survey of the damage, we will likely see plenty of long-term impacts.

We are not expected to break the record for the highest river stage. The record being 20 feet set in 1965.

With the help of several communities, progress will be made.