By Bill Hudson

GRASSTON, Minn. (WCCO) — This week’s torrential rainfall continues to cause serious troubles for both homeowners and highway crews.

The flooding is particularly troublesome along the Snake River in Kanabec County, in the small town of Grasston, where homeowners are fighting a 24-hour battle.

The high floodwaters forced many bridges and highways to close. The Snake River drains a huge part of central Minnesota, which is now swollen by the 5 to 11 inches of rain that fell Monday night.

“It’s going to be a long process to get things back in working order again, livable,” Grasston resident Lisa Hill said.

Hill doesn’t know where to begin after floodwaters breached the sandbags around her home, and poured into her basement.

“It came up fast. Sometimes we have time to prepare for it, but this time there was no preparing,” she said.

Four feet of dirty river water rushed in, floating belongings and threatening appliances like the water heater, furnace and electrical boxes.

Torrential rains engorged the Snake river. All that water flowed down stream, flooding homes, closing roads, and covering graveyards.

“Up in Aitkin County I heard reports of 11 to 15 inches of rain, all in a span of 24 hours,” Kanabec County Sheriff Brian Smith said. “That’s why we’re seeing this.”

Beyond the obvious damage, health experts worry about contaminated wells. Jill Slater is keeping two pumps running to prevent dirty water from reaching her well in a crawl space.

“No warning, it was like all of a sudden — it was here,” she said.

For many along the angry river, that battle rages on. Sadly, for others like Lisa Hill, it was lost before it started.

“It’s stressful, like I’m doing what I can to keep going with the flood and a sick child, what do I do, where do I go?” she said.

It’s hard to believe, but technically their homes are not in the flood plain, so they didn’t qualify for flood insurance.

The Minnesota Department of Health is cautioning homeowners to test their private wells, and the Red Cross is making those kits available.

Bill Hudson

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