Catastrophic flooding in Minnesota leaves “entire communities under feet of water” as lakes reach “uncontrollable levels”

June 24, 2024
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Water still rising in Waterville as it experiences historic flooding


Water still rising in Waterville as it experiences historic flooding

02:06

Flooding that Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz has described as “catastrophic” has taken over much of the state, leaving “entire communities under feet of water.”

Officials in Waterville said their area is experiencing the worst flooding in its history and that the Minnesota National Guard has been activated to help with the toll. Walz declared a peacetime emergency for the state over the weekend, which allowed the National Guard to deploy.

“Across the state, intense rain has had catastrophic effects. Flooding has left entire communities under feet of water, causing severe damage to property and numerous road closures,” Walz said.

The emergency proclamation says that Waterville, which is wedged between Tetonka Lake and Sakatah Lake in Le Sueur County, received between 14 and 18 inches of rainfall, pushing those lakes and the Cannon River to “uncontrollable levels.” 

“Residents have been evacuated and the flood has already caused significant damage,” the proclamation, issued on Saturday, says. 

“It’s all hands on deck here in Waterville. The water continues to rise and officials say they don’t know when it’s going to stop,” CBS News Minnesota’s Jason Rantala reported on Sunday. 

“We just have too much water,” Le Sueur County Commissioner David Preisler said. 

Locals have been posting countless photos and videos of the damage on social media. One resident said on Sunday evening that “hundreds of cabins and homes” have been flooded, along with most of the downtown area. At his home, he said there was about 18 inches of water in the shed and around the cabin. 

“The water is 3+ feet deep in some places,” they wrote on Facebook. “Several roads in town are impassable and they have the fire department limiting access in many places.”

CBS News Minnesota also reported that officials called this the worst flooding event to ever hit Waterville as 1,000 people volunteered to fill sandbags over the weekend to try and prevent even worse damage. 

The National Weather Service says the weather playing into the flooding across Minnesota may not be over yet. Monday’s early morning forecast shows that there’s a slight risk of severe thunderstorms during evening hours, and the service says that if storms do form, “they’d likely have significant severe weather.” Local river levels are also still rising and flooding continues to be a concern, forecasters said. 

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