Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

First the massive snow, now flooding potential in Minnesota March 13, 2019

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 5:00 AM
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A snow-socked neighborhood in Faribault, photographed on Sunday.


AS IF THIS WINTER of excessive snow hasn’t taxed us enough, now Minnesota is dealing with potential flooding. A flood warning is in effect until 8 a.m. Wednesday for my county of Rice, Goodhue County and several counties in Wisconsin. The National Weather Service has also issued a flood watch in other parts of Minnesota.

Expected temps in the 40s, even 50s, coupled with rainfall of several inches and a resulting fast snow melt, set us up for flooding. All of that water must go somewhere.

With the ground still frozen, that water won’t soak into the earth. Where will it go? In cities and small towns, the water should typically run into storm drains. But many are clogged by snow and ice, meaning the water will end up ponding on and flooding streets. And, yes, city crews have been working to open storm drains. But it’s a time-consuming and difficult task.

Many Minnesota riverside communities (like Stillwater and Hastings) have plans in place to sandbag. The Cannon and Straight Rivers run through Faribault. We’ve experienced flooding in the past. Will those rivers flood again? I don’t know.


Randy shovels snow from a portion of our house roof during a particularly past snowy winter. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo.


Homeowners dealing with massive amounts of snow on their roofs and ice dams (and that includes us) face water leakage issues. Randy has been on our roof thrice this winter to remove snow, including Tuesday afternoon. He worked for hours in the rain to shovel snow, chip at ice dams and run hot water over snowy and icy areas on the roof. The ladder slipped once, with him on it. He rode it down to a lower roof level without falling. Yes, I cajoled/pleaded/begged him not to attempt another climb onto the steep, icy roof. Once he melted the icy section with hot water, he was back up a more stabilized ladder.


Ice dams on our house. This is a common problem, especially on older homes like ours. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo February 2019.

Water is leaking under shingles and inside homes. Water is seeping into basements. That likely will get worse. I hope the water prevention system we installed in our basement several years ago continues to work.

This winter is truly challenging all of us. Mentally. Physically. And now in our pocketbooks. I know we’re not alone. Other areas of the country are experiencing similar catastrophic weather. If it wasn’t for the flooding and other water-related issues, I’d embrace the current warm temps.

We are in this together. We’ll get through this. We always do. We just need to get safely through these next several days.

© Copyright 2019 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


14 Responses to “First the massive snow, now flooding potential in Minnesota”

  1. Beth Ann Says:

    Oh Randy–be safe! Exclamation mark needed there. We always face flooding issues around here because of our massive rain fall in our temperate rain forest but your snow melt and rain certainly places concerns everywhere. I am sure you will all breathe a sigh of relief when winter 2018-19 is over. Hang in there.

  2. I saw that many roofs are falling with the additional weight. It reminds me of a few years back when our area of Northern MN lost many of the old red barns due to the heavy snowpacks.

    Be careful Randy!!! Audrey- still not sure what to pull out of my storage as now I am leaning more to the kayak again. Maybe I will wait a week – 😬

    • You are correct about the roof collapses. Yesterday the roof of the 100-year-old cattle barn at the State Fairgrounds collapsed as did the roof over a hotel pool somewhere in the metro. Roofs on dairy barns have fallen. A church roof collapsed Sunday morning either in Fargo or Moorhead, I can’t recall which. Services had been canceled because of weather. Thank God.

      I hope this is the final time this winter that Randy needs to climb onto our roof. I am thankful he didn’t fall off or hurt himself worse than banged up shins during that ladder sliding incident. I’m glad I didn’t witness it.

  3. Valerie Says:

    We are all wondering where all the melted snow will go. I’m ready for this winter to be over.
    Hmmmm….Spring begins next week………

  4. Kathleen Cassen Mickelson Says:

    On this foggy morning, before the rain, we walked the dog over wet and icy streets around here. The storm drains on our street are under feet of frozen snow – feet, that can’t be easily cleared. I think we’re going to have to get our little dog a canoe.

  5. Mother Nature is on a tear in MN – geez! – Give them a break already! Be Safe and Take Care

  6. Philip Holum Says:

    I have also been up on the roof three times, due to ice damming. I hate when water goes where it doesn’t belong, brown stains on plaster, cracking sheetrock joints and bubbling wallpaper. Just when I thought I had it licked, that last snowstorm hit us. Less snow than expected, but the freeze and thaw creates havoc on an old roof. Maybe it makes us stronger? Phil/Eagle Bend

    • Phil, I’m sorry you’re dealing with the same ice dam-water leakage situation that many of us are facing. We hope we have our problem licked now. But time will tell. Ice dams are melting.

      I looked over at my neighbor’s house this morning to see all of his northside ice dams melted but now part of the rain gutters detached from the edge of the roof. This winter has truly caused a lot of damage to so many buildings from roof collapses to water leakage.

  7. How awful! Put away the snow shovels and find the row boat! 🙂 Take care!

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