Cleanup about to begin in Fillmore Countyby Patrick Condon, Associated Press
Preston, Minn. (AP) — The rain-swollen Root River flooded dozens of homes in Fillmore County, and one man had to be rescued by boat, authorities said.
As many as 75 homes in Preston were damaged, mostly with water in the basement, said Fillmore County Coordinator Karen Brown. People had to move out of about 20 homes, and about a dozen businesses were affected, too, she said.
"The water does seem to be receding at this time. We're happy about that," she said late Monday morning.
Fifteen homes were evacuated in Lanesboro, and a park and campground flooded.
In next-door Houston County, flooding washed out roads and debris clogged storm culverts. Several dozen people were evacuated, most of them campers. Homeowners were expected to return to their homes on Monday, and the shelters that had been set up to house them were closed. The county remained under a flood warning until 5:30 p.m.
About 60 campers staying at DunRomin' Park Campground, about 4 miles south of Caledonia, were evacuated to the Caledonia auditorium after the park began to flood. A bridge at the park entrance washed out, and firefighters brought campers to safety.
Some people walked up a bluff and through muddy farm fields - with several losing their shoes. Firefighters were forced to pull some residents out of the mud and carry some small children.
"I was lucky, because I tied my shoes tight enough," Colleen Taft, of St. Paul Park, told the Winona Daily News.
The Root River was expected to crest sometime Monday before going back to normal levels by Tuesday morning, the National Weather Service reported. No major rain was expected Monday.
Les Hellickson of Preston lives near the river in the house in which he grew up. On Monday his basement was totally submerged, and he assumed his furnace, hot water heater, and clothes washer and dryer were lost, though he hadn't been back into the house to assess the damage.
"I've lived in Preston all my life, and this is the worst ever I've seen it," he said.
The staff at radio station KFIL-KVGO in Preston saw the floodwaters coming.
"We got in beforehand and unhooked all our wiring, took out the bottom drawers of filing cabinets, and made sure all our computers were up high," said account executive Jon Dahl. The flood knocked the station off the air on Sunday afternoon. It was hoping to resume broadcasts on Monday afternoon.
Gov. Tim Pawlenty visited the area Monday morning to see the damage.
The region was ravaged last August by severe floods that killed seven people. Seven counties were declared federal disaster areas after those floods.
- All Things Considered, 06/09/2008, 5:19 p.m.