By Reg Chapman

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The city of Owatonna declared a state of emergency Tuesday night due to heavy rains, which have caused the Straight River to spill its banks.

The rushing water barely slides under the footbridge that overlooks the river in Morehouse Park.

But flooded parks are not the only worry. Maple Creek, which feeds into the Straight River, is threatening homes near the Brooktree Golf Course.

Kris Reynolds has been through this before. She says 4 ½ feet of sewage flooded her basement in 2010.

“You just keep watching the creek. It’s going down, it’s going down, but they’re talking rain again tonight,” Reynolds said.

Four years ago, heavy rain caused widespread flooding. The house two doors down from Reynolds was severely damaged. It now sits abandoned.

This year is not as bad, and mainly because people who live along the creek learned how to protect themselves and their property.

“We tiled around the entire perimeter inside of the basement that runs to a sump pump,” Reynolds said. “We have our outside tile line running to a second sump pump and we have a line that goes between to the two sump pumps so that if one would quit working, the other one can help pick it up.”

The pumps are working to keep basements dry, while Maple Creek is carving out sections of the golf course, swallowing fences and anything in its path. The fast-moving creek makes the 12th hole pf Brooktree look more like an island.

The state of emergency will last another 48 hours as of Wednesday night. City officials are asking people not to drive around the barricades on closed roads, and to stay out of city parks because the fast-moving water could endanger anyone who falls into the engorged river.

The city is offering free sandbags to anybody who wants to use them to protect their property.

Reg Chapman


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