Thursday, September 16, 2004

Flood waters receding, cleanup begins

The cleanup effort in Austin (MN) has already begun. With many streets still flooded it is hard to say whn the cleanup will be complete. The Cedar River crested at 10 feet above flood stage early today and is expected to be within its banks by late Friday.

Many homes and businesses were damaged as can be expected. This flood rivals the infamous "twin floods" of 1978 which occurred approximately a week apart. While watching the news in the Twin Cities, I picked out landmarks which the reporters were standing near and reminisced back in time. In the floods which I experienced while living in Austin, I never saw water so high. It surrounded buildings and covered roads many blocks further from rivers than ever before in my lifetime.

Of course, it wasn't just the city of Austin which sufferred damage. The area's small towns also felt the wrath of the storm. One man was rescued from a tree near the Cedar River south of Austin and in the city itself, one man is presumed dead after being swept downstream in the downtown area near the public library which sits on the banks of Mill Pond. Mill Pond is simply a wide area on the Cedar River which is prone to flooding.

Another man suffered a fatal heart attack while sandbagging. It just goes to show you that the losses go far beyond those of property and personal possessions. Property and possessions can be repaired and replaced, lives cannot.

Keep safe and let's hope that rain will stay away in southern Minnesota as they now struggle to dry out and prepare for the fall harvest - if there's anything left to harvest.

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