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Minnesotans Waiting For Road-Closing Rivers To Crest

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(credit: CBS) Jennifer Mayerle
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DELANO, Minn. (WCCO) – Communities around Minnesota are watching and waiting for flooded rivers to crest. At least 15 major roads or bridges are impassable right now because of rising water.

Monday afternoon, Gov. Mark Dayton extended a state of emergency for 35 counties in Minnesota.

Delano is one of the places officials are paying extra attention to. The Crow River is expected to crest early Tuesday morning. Monday night, the river was showing no sign of slowing down.

“If someone were to fall in, it wouldn’t take much for it to suck you in and you’d be under the bridge,” resident Dan Alger said.

Alberta Shrieber remembers the record level back in 1965.

“It was two feet higher than this, running down Main Street,” she said.

The temporary levee is preventing a repeat, keeping the rising river from taking over businesses. It did find its way into a cafe along the river.

“We have sandbags behind there, but it still gets in underground. and then it goes into our basement,” the owner said.

And the closed bridge into town is a major concern for residents.

“It’s shut down right now, and who knows how long it will be shut down,” Ryan Connors said. “It cuts off traffic, causes all kinds of problems.”

That’s the problem so many Minnesota communities are dealing with. MnDOT has closed 15 river crossings or roadways, including the Stillwater Lift Bridge. Drivers will have a long detour until the St. Croix River stops swelling.

Other problem areas include Prior Lake, where residents sandbagged to keep the record level water out. The water made its way into yards and homes there.

Harriet Island in St. Paul is submerged in the Mississippi. The flooding there is expected to get worse, potentially cresting at three times the normal level later this week.

Rockford and Watertown near Delano are dealing with their own flooding. Rural roads vanished beneath the Crow River.

“Coming off the winter we just had, this is not probably what we really need, but it’s Minnesota,” Connors said.

Officials said the flooding could get worse before it gets better. Once the rivers crest, they will have a better idea of how long communities will have to deal with blocked roads and flooding.

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