Storms soak Midwest
OWATONNA, minn. — Flooding caused by heavy rain that has lashed parts of the upper Midwest forced the evacuation Friday of dozens of homes in a small Minnesota city, where swollen waterways closed bridges and threatened to swamp neighborhoods.
Five businesses in Owatonna, a city of about 24,000 residents 65 miles south of Minneapolis, were closed because of floodwater from two creeks and the Straight River, Steele County Commissioner Tom Shea said.
A powerful, lingering storm system has dumped almost half a foot of rain on a swath of southern Minnesota and western Wisconsin, causing widespread flooding that displaced hundreds of homeowners and forced businesses to shut down and schools to cancel classes.
Friday brought dry conditions for much of the region, offering a breather for exhausted emergency personnel. But some rivers and streams were likely to continue to rise from as much as 10.5 inches of rain Thursday, and another storm was expected to creep into the region Saturday.
“It’s a really dangerous situation here. We’re doing a lot of work to try to hold our ground here,” Owatonna Fire Chief Mike Johnson said. He said emergency crews were spending a lot of time trying to maintain the city’s critical infrastructure.
In southeastern Minne-, sota, more than a dozen homes near a dam in the small town of Oronoco were evacuated for fear that torrential rains had weakened the dam. At least 10 school districts canceled classes.
About 90 miles east of Owatonna in Arcadia, Wis., emergency officials evacuated 343 homes on Thursday as 3-foot floodwaters surged through the city’s downtown area.
MINNESOTA: Aman retrieves a basketball that floated off during flooding in the town of Owatonna.