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Too much rain causing many issues

By Staff | Jul 1, 2018

After several heavy rains in the last week, the Blue Earth River overflowed its banks once again. Trucks go through a flooded Main Street during the Sunday storm.

What was a wet spring has now turned into an even wetter start to summer in the Blue Earth and Faribault County areas.

A storm on late Sunday afternoon, June 24, was the final straw that broke the camel’s back.

“We recorded over four inches of rain in about an hour and 45 minutes,” says Blue Earth city administrator Tim Ibisch. “Then another half inch fell the rest of the night, from 6 to 11:30 p.m.”

Several streets in Blue Earth were flooded and so were many basements.

“We have had 12 to 15 people come into City Hall to report damage,” Ibisch says. “All from the heavy rainfall.”

The amount of water in a short period of time overwhelmed the city’s wastewater treatment plant and the city had to divert some of it into the Blue Earth River.

“We alerted the MPCA (Minnesota Pollution Control Agency), which we do whenever there is an emergency bypass,” Ibisch says. “They help us determine the best way to handle it.”

It was not just the amount of water, but an electrical problem caused some pumps not to work properly Sunday night, but Ibisch says by Monday morning they were all back to normal operations.

The Blue Earth River overflowed in a wide area, with the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) measuring the river at 43 feet at one point.

A crew of two DNR workers from Marshall, Minnesota, were taking measurements at the bridge west of the swimming pool during the week. They said most of their measurements were to determine volume and flow rate, in order to prepare for flooding down river towards Mankato.

Even by Thursday, the official DNR reading was still at 41.92 feet at Blue Earth and 35.59 feet at Winnebago. Both readings were determined to be “very high” by the DNR.

The Sunday storm also caused extensive crop damage, with farm fields in the area, especially south of Blue Earth, not only damaged by being flooded out in areas from the rain, but with corn blown over by the high winds which accompanied the storm.

The area was already saturated with rain in many places even before this most recent storm. There have been many rain events in the area in the past few weeks, with some in the inch and a half to four inch range. They have been spotty, however, as sometimes it hits hard in one part of the county while other areas receive a minor amount.

During last Sunday’s storm, while Blue Earth was being hit with 4.5 inches, other places recorded less than one inch, for instance.

Another round of rain was predicted for Saturday, June 30.