HENDERSON, Minn. (WCCO) – Two main roads into the town of Henderson are blocked by rising floodwaters. Highway 19 from Henderson to Highway 169 is closed. So is highway 93 south of the city.
The town took swift action to block floodwaters. The rising Minnesota River forced the town to adjust its timeline. Floodgates went in 24 hours before city officials thought they’d need it.
It’s an area prone to flooding, so this is nothing new for people who call Henderson home.
“Almost every year, twice a year, sometimes three times a year. It’s just there’s so much water that comes off the top of that hill,” Steven Fries said.
Emergency responders and volunteers worked to build the temporary levee on highway 93 south of Elm. During the last flood, Fire Chief Randy Tiegs said the water nearly covered the camping sign behind it.
“This does keep the water out of town. It’s a certified levee by the Corps of Engineers and, of course, we have all these homes here if we didn’t would be greatly impacted by the water,” Tiegs said.
A new challenge for crews is the time of year. Flooding has typically happened here later in the spring, or even summer.
“Very, very early for us and of course it makes working with sandbags and working with the levee system itself a little more difficult because we’re still dealing with snow, we’re still dealing with ice,” Tiegs explained.
People who live on the stretch that floods have found a way to work around road closures. After all, they’ve been doing it for decades.
“We have a John Deere 4-by-4, it’s a side by side. We have a little path up our hill and then we cross our neighbor’s yard and then we have a pasture that joins to a road on the edge of town,” Anne Buesgens said.
Tuesday afternoon, the Buesgens drove their cars into town so they have them to use until the river subsides and the road reopens.
“It’s kind of exciting at first and it’s nice, it’s so quiet but then it gets to be kind of, gets old,” the Buesgens said.
Officials expect the floodgates to stay up for a few weeks with this flooding. Tiegs said one of the impacts is emergency services. They are ready to respond to a few homes by boat if necessary.