FARIBAULT HOLDS ITS COLLECTIVE breath Wednesday evening as grey clouds hang heavy over this southeastern Minnesota city, once again threatening rain.
At Central Park, where the annual Heritage Days celebration kicks off with an opening ceremony, Mayor John Jasinski cuts short his welcome. He’s got more serious matters on his mind—tending to a community where a State of Emergency was declared Wednesday morning.
The waters of the Straight and Cannon rivers, which run through town, are rising. And the city is preparing for possible flooding, with reminders of the September 2010 flash flood ever present.
At the Faribault Woolen Mill, Heritage Days tours have been canceled with the focus instead on sandbagging and protecting the historic building that sits along the Cannon River.
Locals flock to Father Slevin Park, next to the Cannon, next to the Woolen Mill, Wednesday evening to photograph the scene. The Cannon River dam is no longer visible.
Several layers of sandbags rim the parking lot next to the factory store.
Directly across Second Avenue, sandbags likewise protect Faribault Foods. Behind the canning company, the rising Straight River has already blocked access to loading docks. Other doors are also barricaded with plastic-covered sandbags.
Just down the road, at the city’s wastewater treatment plant, a steady flow of dump trucks enter and exit the facility, presumably delivering sand. Sandbags are already in place here.
Near the Faribault American Legion, just a block off the historic downtown, workers shovel sand into bags at the city’s sandbag central. Road closed signs are at the ready.
Across the Straight River in Teepee Tonka Park, the bridge into the park is blocked and the river rushes in a frenzy.
Onlookers step across police tape to photograph the scene—until the cops cruise up and advise that “the tape is there for a reason.” They don’t want anyone tumbling into the muddy, raging waters.
Darkness falls and Faribault waits.
© Copyright 2014 Audrey Kletscher Helbling