Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Flood updates from southern Minnesota March 23, 2011

AS YOU WOULD EXPECT, Minnesotans are keeping a close watch on rising rivers, creeks and streams as rain and snow continue to fall across much of our state.

Here in Faribault, sandbagging has begun at the wastewater treatment plant, which flooded during last September’s flash flood. Sandbags have been filled and are available to property owners. The city has an emergency plan in place to deal with any flooding.

Faribault officials are working to protect the city's water reclamation plant which sits along the Straight River and which was flooded in a September 2010 flood. This photo is from September 2010.

Thankfully, the precipitation—rain, sleet and then snow overnight—have stopped in Faribault.

Further to the south, I’ve heard from Katie Shones of Hammond, a Wabasha County village nestled along the Zumbro River. Last September Hammond and nearby Zumbro Falls were devastated by the same flash flood that occurred in Faribault.

Katie updated me just this afternoon on the situation in Hammond. “So far, no sandbagging in the area,” Katie writes. “We are under a flood warning in Wabasha County, just as much of southern Minnesota. The Zumbro is high, but it is still contained in its banks. People are watching the river closely as you can well imagine.”

Looking down on Hammond during the September 2010 flash flood. Photo courtesy of Hammond residents Micheal Mann and Tina Marlowe.

Sadly, yesterday the spring floods claimed the life of a Minnesota Department of Transportation worker who was swept away by floodwaters after his backhoe tipped into Seven Mile Creek, which feeds into the Minnesota River. The accident happened between Mankato and St. Peter along U.S. Highway 169 when Michael Struck 39, of Cleveland, was attempting to clean out flood debris, according to an article in The Free Press, Mankato. His body was found today in Seven Mile Creek County Park.

Please be careful out there, and if you have any reports you would like to share about flood preparedness, flooding or other weather in your area of Minnesota, please submit a comment.

© Copyright 2011 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


9 Responses to “Flood updates from southern Minnesota”

  1. Bernie Says:

    So it begins again. I’m sorry for that man and his family.
    They are worried about flooding here in Montana this year. Our winter has been heavier than normal. I’m sure not to the degree of folks in Minnesota. Yet, this is the first year I have heard of such things in Montana.

    I will be keeping the Minnesota folks in my thoughts.

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Thanks for your concern for residents back in your home state of Minnesota, Bernie.

      I learned this morning that the MNDOT worker who died has a connection to my family. He is the brother-in-law of my cousin’s daughter Alyssa’s husband. His two young children were in Alyssa and Dustin’s wedding last fall. It is so very sad and my heart and prayers go out to that family.

      I was out and about in Faribault yesterday and will be posting some images later of the river situation here. I would say for the most part, we will not have serious flooding issues here.

      Hopefully you won’t in Montana either.

  2. vicki Says:

    Yes, good luck to everyone near rising water. That was so tragic, that accident. The poor family.

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      You know what it’s like to deal with rising water, Vicki, given your Hammond home was flooded last fall. At least you’re high on a hill now and “safe.” But still, you must miss that sweet little river town in southeastern Minnesota.

      Please pray for the family of Michael Struck. They need our support and prayers to deal with this tragedy.

      • vicki Says:

        Yes, I really miss our little town. Just going to the grocery store is not the same in our new area…we don’t know anybody…I will keep Michael Struck’s family in my prayers for a long, long time. The wife and children must’ve just thought it was just a normal workday, then the rug was pulled out from under them. Just shocking. Sad.

  3. Bernie Says:

    Was it true that this mans brother had passed away from cancer like three weeks ago? Numbing and sad…

    This darn winter…
    Prayers for all.

  4. vicki Says:

    Oh, my gosh, I didn’t know about Michael Struck’s brother…now this. I hope they have a big loving family and alot of friends.

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Yes, Andy Struck died on March 2 from complications due to cancer. My heart and prayers go out to this family that has lost two loved ones within weeks. First 37-year-old Andy and now 39-year-old Mike. I’m sure the prayers of many are uplifting them.

      A memorial fund has been set up to help fund the education of Mike’s children, Kaylee, 6, and Gavin, 4. Contributions may be sent to:

      Mike Struck Memorial Fund
      c/o Nicollet County Bank
      220 South Third Street
      St. Peter, MN. 56082

      A college fund has also been established for Andy’s daughter, Olivia.

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