The Big Story Blog

Water recedes in Moose Lake but worries remain

Posted at 4:22 PM on June 22, 2012 by Paul Tosto
Filed under: Weather

MPR News reporter Conrad Wilson files this dispatch from Moose Lake:

Many people spent the better part of the last two days filling sandbags and doing all they could to fend off rising water. Roads that were submerged Thursday were slowly clearing out. But there's still a lot of water.

Annette Dahlmeier's basement is flooded completely, "full to the top," she said standing in a dry spot in her neighbor's yard. "I have lived there 55 years and I've never, ever had to deal with this."

Once the water backs away from her house she'll be able to start pumping water out of the basement. But right now her future is uncertain. The flood's timing is especially hard. Her husband died a year ago. She held two photos of him wrapped in a plastic bag.

Like others in town, Dahlmeier doesn't have flood insurance. She said she plans to go with her son to Minneapolis "for a while."

Moose Lake Police Chief Bryce Bogenholm says the emergency response is shifting to more of a clean up effort.

"Right now the water is going down. It's gone down about six inches. They think it's going down about two inches an hour. We're deploying all our assets into pumping basements, getting the gas shut off and just doing our best to assess the situation as far as damage."

The damage appears to be well into the millions of dollars, Bogenholm said. In at least one spot, a pump was emptying diluted sewage out of the flooded sewers into a park, but the city water is still safe to drink.

The school succumbed to flooding. While the sandbags held, the sewer system backed up in the building, filling parts of the school with anywhere between and few inches and a few feet of water.

Moose Lake High School doesn't have flood insurance, principal Bob Indihar said. Because the sewer was involved, the district can tap about $75,000 in coverage. But that that's not even close to covering repair costs.

Indihar says people are stopping by to help with whatever they can -- a common theme that's played out over and again with friends and neighbors around town. And something that's sure continue as the community looks towards rebuilding.

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About Paul Tosto

Paul Tosto

Paul Tosto writes the Big Story Blog for MPR News. He joined the newsroom in 2008 after more than 20 years reporting on education, politics and the economy for news wires and newspapers across the country.

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