Flood fight continues in southern Minnesotaby Rupa Shenoy, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — The Minnesota Emergency Operations Center said Blue Earth, Wabasha and Watonwan counties are its areas of focus Saturday, as flooding continues in southern Minnesota.
One hundred and thirty four National Guard troops are helping residents throughout southwestern Minnesota recover from flooding or prepare for more.
In Blue Earth County, St. Clair is asking residents to avoid using water, including toilets and drains. High water on the LeSueur River is causing the sanitary sewer system to fail. Authorities are responding to the city's request for 50,000 additional sandbags.
In Wabasha County, Hammond and Zumbro Falls continue to report heavy flooding. Residents have been evacuated from both cities as the Zumbro River continues to rise.
In Watonwan County, crews in Madelia are sandbagging around four homes to protect them from the rising Watonwan river.
All of Zumbro's 180 residents were evacuated Friday as floodwaters covered the town's main intersection with more than 12 feet of water. The Rochester Post-Bulletin reports the city was deserted, with some residents ferried to higher ground by airboat.
KMSP-TV reports that water from the Zumbro River rose to the second story of many homes.
Wabasha County officials told the station they're keeping everyone out of flood-damaged towns until waters recede. Authorities in Wabasha and Goodhue Counties say the high waters have kept them from assessing any of the damage.
The Post-Bulletin reports Saturday on a dramatic rescue in Zumbro Falls of horses owned by Lamar Johnson and his nephew, Matt Johnson. It says they waded through strong currents up to their chests Friday to free four horses that were tied up and surrounded by water.
State Department of Safety spokesman Doug Neville said as water continues to move down rivers, residents in Scott, Carver and Ramsey counties will also be affected by the end of the week.
"Even in St. Paul and Hastings along the Mississippi River," he said. "This isn't just one of those incidents where it starts and it's over," he said.
(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)