By Jeff Wagner

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The town of New Ulm is in the major flood stage. Residents are being forced to take alternative routes to their homes after the Cottonwood River overflowed.

The only traffic flowing on Cottonwood Street in New Ulm Monday afternoon was a steady stream thanks to an ice jam on the Cottonwood River.

The submerged road caused drivers to just stop and stare.

“It’s massive, it’s like I’ve never saw that much of the road over cover,” said Tammi Nachriener, of New Ulm.

Getting to the other side is no small detour either.

“Couple miles or more,” Nachriener said.

She was right. We took the scenic route through town. About 16 minutes later, we hit the finish line right about where Mary O’Conner lives.

“I got up Sunday morning and I left at a quarter to 9 to go to church. That normally takes me five minutes, and I got out the end of the driveway and discovered my road was closed, so I had to drive all the way around. I was late. I was supposed to read for mass and they had to get somebody else,” O’Connor said.

O’Connor knows flooding happens in this area, but she is more concerned than usual this time around.

“I have no idea what’s going to come from up north. That’s what I’m worried about. Right now we just have an ice jam,” O’Connor said.

Naturally, she called her son.

“I wanted him to take my antiques out. He said, ‘We’ll sandbag you, mother,'” O’Connor said.

She then did something she’s never done.

“For the very first time, I bought flood insurance this year,” O’Connor said.

Peace of mind as temperatures rise, snow melts and rain storms loom in the future. Major flood stage for the Cottonwood River starts at 16 feet. It’s currently just above 17 feet.

The National Weather Service projects it’ll stay around this level for at least another week.

Jeff Wagner

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