Rivers flood­ing west of Twin Cities

Rain and a soggy land­scape caus­ing mi­nor dam­age along rivers. Ma­rina DeSteno Challeen as­pired to be a doc­tor.

Star Tribune - - AROUND THE METRO - By MARY LYNN SMITH mary­lynn.smith@star­tri­bune.com Mary Lynn Smith • 612-673-4788 By PAUL WALSH paul.walsh@star­tri­bune.com Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482

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.

DAVID JOLES • david.joles@star­tri­bune.com

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.

Hen­nepin County EMS

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