‘A lot of standing water’

Rain event leaves flooded fields, some road damage in area

Photo courtesy of Laurie Ourada Jaxon Bond, grandson of Terry and Laurie Ourada, paddled through a flooded cornfield at the Ouradas’ farm near Lucan. When the sun finally came out after last week’s rain event, the family made the best of the situation by getting out the kayaks, Laurie Ourada said.

Last week’s heavy rains left a lake’s worth of water in the fields at Terry and Laurie Ourada’s farm near Lucan. When the sun finally came out on Sunday, they decided to make the best out of the mess.

“I thought the water was so shimmery and blue, and it was the first sunny day in a long time, so let’s get the kayaks out and go for a relaxing ride,” Laurie Ourada said in a text message to the Independent. “If you don’t think about the fact the water flooded out a lot of our corn and soybean crop, it is nature at its finest.”

Ourada shared photos of her family, including her grandson Jaxon, paddling kayaks through a cornfield. The water was about 3.5 to four feet deep, she said.

From standing water in fields to flooded roads, the rains had an impact on the area. On Monday, there were still some areas with closed highways, and area county highway departments were making repairs to gravel roads.

Heavy rain last week caused flooding in areas across southwest Minnesota. On Friday, U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar said in a statement that she was keeping an eye on flood damage in the state.

“I’m working closely with officials throughout the state as we continue to see rising flood waters cause damage and threaten the safety of Minnesotans,” Klobuchar said in the statement. “All public infrastructure damage is being documented so that if and when the federal threshold for FEMA disaster relief is reached, that relief will be delivered quickly.”

A flood warning for the Redwood River in Lyon County remains in effect through Wednesday. In Marshall, the river was expected to stay near a crest of 15.9 feet on Monday, the National Weather Service said. Flood stage is 14 feet. The river is expected to fall below flood stage on Wednesday morning, the NWS said.

In Redwood Falls, the Redwood River is expected to rise to a crest of 9.1 feet early Wednesday morning, the NWS said. For comparison, the swayback bridge in Redwood Falls is overtopped at a river stage of 8.5 feet, the NWS said.

The projected 9.1-foot crest would be a record, compared to a previous crest of 9 feet in 1983, the NWS said.

Over the weekend, several area highways, including U.S. Highway 59 south of Marshall, Highway 91 in Chandler, Highway 30 between Dovray and Westbrook, and U.S. Highway 14 east of Lamberton, were closed down due to flooding. The Minnesota Department of Transportation was busy monitoring road conditions this weekend, said MnDOT District 8 spokesperson Sandra Schlagel.

“It’s been very busy for the crews,” she said. As of Monday, water had receded from all the closed highways except for Highway 14, between Impala Avenue and Jade Avenue east of Lamberton. Schlagel said Highway 14 would stay closed Monday night, and MnDOT would reevaluate today.

In addition, water was also reported on the westbound lane of Highway 14 on the west edge of Tyler. Schlagel said drivers are urged to slow down and use caution when traveling on that stretch of the highway.

Aside from some flooding, there was not major damage to roads in Lincoln County, said County Engineer Joe Wilson. Wilson said crews were going to have to replace some gravel on roads.

In Murray County, the Murray County Board held an emergency meeting Saturday to declare a state of emergency due to flooding. Doing so allows the county to apply for disaster relief funding, said Murray County Engineer Randy Groves.

“The large majority of road issues we experienced were on the south end of the county,” Groves said. Groves said a lot of the water on county roads had receded by Monday. There wasn’t damage as extensive as during the area flooding in 2018, he said.

The water level in Lake Shetek had also not gone over the dikes in last week’s rain, Groves said.

While there was a lot of flooded cropland and basements in Murray County, “It could have been a lot worse,” Groves said.

Jamie Larsen, highway maintenance superintendent in Redwood County, said county crews there were doing some minor repairs of gravel roads after last week’s rain.

“The part of the county that got affected the worst was by the Cottonwood River,” Larsen said. While there were some county roads that were temporarily closed due to flooding, Larsen said it wasn’t unusual for those particular roadways. Some of the affected roads were spillways, he said.

“There is a lot of standing water around the area,” Larsen said.

“There are many large areas with ponds in our Lucan area,” Ourada said. On her family’s farm, “It has been a difficult spring getting crops into the ground. Lots of rain made it difficult to get the rye crop harvested, and then rework the soil to plant soybeans . . . We don’t have it as bad as others.”

There are still chances for more showers and thunderstorms this week, NWS forecasts said. A chance of showers is forecast on Tuesday and Thursday, with showers becoming likely on Thursday night.


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