Given the comparative scarcity of rain in the Twin Cities and our metro-centric ways, the amazing flooding in southeastern Minnesota and southwestern Wisconsin is almost happening in secret.
The story from Harrison, Wis., is horrifying. A boy was swept into a drainage ditch and disappeared. He found an air pocket but if a firefighter hadn’t seen his finger sticking through a manhole cover, it would be an incredible tragedy.
The water — from 11 inches of rain — was enough to sweep a grown man away, the Associated Press reports.
The rain is also changing the landscape forever.
A popular waterfall in Hokah, Minn., for example, is gone, the Winona Daily News reports. The water carved out a new path at Como Falls.
Water, which used to flow over the falls into a small pool and then under a wooden bridge, carved its way several feet below the falls, flowing into a wide lake. Only 50 feet away from a park bench buried on its side stands the Como Falls Park sign, the lone reminder of what this place used to be.
Right now, the city can’t focus on what it will take to rebuild the falls — or if it’s even possible. The immediate concern is the handful of houses just feet from the edge of the 20- or 30-foot drop.
“The falls is secondary to the houses,” Schuldt said. “There’s fear of losing a house or two because it’s eroding on that hillside.”
Here’s what it looked like before:
It’s some of the most severe flooding in the southeast portion of Minnesota since the flash floods of Aug. 18, 2007 when six people died.