Rivers flooding west of Twin Cities
Rain and a soggy landscape causing minor damage along rivers. Marina DeSteno Challeen aspired to be a doctor.
A rainy October is pushing some Minnesota rivers over their banks and making them too hazardous for boating.
The National Weather Service in Chanhassen issued flood advisories for parts of the Minnesota River at Montevideo and along the Crow River at Rockford, Delano and Mayer, west of the Twin Cities.
The flooding is minor, affecting lowland areas near the rivers that include some gravel roads and parkland, said Craig Schmidt, weather service hydrologist.
Those rivers and others also are running faster than normal, making it dangerous for boating, he said. People should stay off those rivers, he added.
Rainfall in central and western Minnesota was 2 to 3 inches above normal this summer, Schmidt said. Although September was drier than normal, more than 3 inches of rain in October surpassed the usual 1 inch of rain for this period, he said.
“All that rain happened at a time when all of our plant life has pretty much stopped absorbing any water, and so we have a lot more water going into the soil that got saturated pretty quickly and then it ran off into the rivers,” Schmidt said. Some of the wetlands and marsh areas were already pretty full from the summer rains, he added.
Although rain is in the forecast this weekend, it shouldn’t amount to much. Most of the rivers should retreat back to their banks by early next week, Schmidt said.
A long procession of ambulances Wednesday escorted the body of Marina G. DeSteno Challeen, an emergency medical technician who was killed while on duty this week in a crash in Brooklyn Center, from the medical examiner’s office in Minneapolis to a funeral home.
“Thank you for your service, Marina,” read a Facebook posting by Hennepin County’s emergency medical service, “we will take it from here.”
The string of nearly 30 vehicles, most of them HealthEast ambulances, left downtown with lights flashing as ambulances from other providers lined the curb. Some emergency personnel stood nearby, holding a salute throughout the midday tribute under gray skies as her body headed to a St. Paul funeral home.
Her family, making arrangements in anticipation of 1,500 attendees, chose St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church in Mahtomedi for next Wednesday’s services.
DeSteno Challeen, 24, of St. Paul, was a passenger in the ambulance when it struck a stalled semitrailer truck that was said to be “fully on the shoulder” about 7 p.m. Monday. A tow truck was with the big rig in the apex where Interstate 694 and I-94 split.
DeSteno Challeen died at the scene. Driver Susanna G. Kelly, 27, of Roseville, was hurt but not seriously. There was no patient on board.
DeSteno Challeen had been an EMT for about a year, said her aunt, Nancy DeSteno.
DeSteno said her niece earned a degree in anthropology from the University of Minnesota and “wanted to go to medical school but took EMT training instead.”
Neither the semi’s driver nor the tow truck operator were hurt in the crash.
The State Patrol’s Sara DuPaul said the ambulance was heading from Monticello to north Minneapolis without its emergency lights or siren engaged when it “attempted to merge across the apex and … struck the back of the semi.”
No citations have been issued in connection with the crash. Ambulances, above, provided a procession in downtown Minneapolis for the body of Marina DeSteno Challeen, left, who died in a freeway crash while on duty Monday.
Logs and a portion of a tree were wedged under Bridge Av. W. and River St. N. on the Crow River in Delano, Minn., on Thursday. Recent heavy rains have caused area rivers to swell, but has caused only minor damage, according to the National Weather Service.