Storms soak Mid­west

Los Angeles Times - - The Nation -

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.

Mar­lin Levison

MIN­NESOTA: Aman re­trieves a bas­ket­ball that floated off dur­ing flood­ing in the town of Owa­tonna.

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