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Heavy rains cause flooding this morning in west central Minnesota

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WILLMAR –– Heavy storms last night that dumped as much as eight inches of rain on already saturated fields, roads and basements is causing more problems in west central Minnesota communities.

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There are reports of standing water on roads in several counties, including Yellow Medicine, Chippewa and Renville counties, with at least one road washed out northeast of Granite Falls.

What’s worse is that more rain is in the forecast for today, which has prompted the National Weather Service in Chanhassen to issue flood and flash flood warnings for much of the region.

The weather service said 3-8 inches of rain fell in the area last night, and with additional rain expected today, rivers and streams will continue to rise and flood new areas throughout the day.

Targeted areas include Granite Falls, Olivia, Redwood Falls, Gaylord and Hutchinson.

“We’ve got some localized flooding here, south and east of Granite Falls,” said Yellow Medicine County Sheriff Bill Flaten. “The low-lying areas are full-up,” he said, and a “bunch of roads are covered.”

He said reports from the town of Wood Lake indicate as much as 10 inches of rain fell there, flooding streets and causing problems with storm sewers and sanitary sewer systems.

“They’re busy pumping,” said Flaten.

The Olivia City Council held an emergency meeting this morning to find solutions to the flooding issues going on there after six inches of fell in the community overnight.

“We have quite a problem here,” said City Administrator Dan Coughlin.

“The storm water system is at capacity. Our holding ponds are at a food of cresting and the drainage ditches are about to crest,” said Coughlin.

The council agreed to join the Minnesota Water/Wastewater Agency Response Network, which is a statewide joint powers agency that provides emergency resources to communities.

The local fire department may be called to help if the water continues to rise, said Coughlin, adding that after the meeting today the councilmembers had to deal with water and sewage in the basement of their own homes.

“We’re working the problem,” he said. “Lord willing, we don’t get any additional rain here.”

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Carolyn Lange
A reporter for more than 30 years, Carolyn Lange covers county government and regional news with the West Central Tribune.
(320) 894-9750
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