Storms hit Cannon Falls hardestCANNON FALLS — When torrential rains poured down over Cannon Falls throughout the entire afternoon and evening Thursday, many local families were faced with trying to keep water out of their basements, garages and houses.
By: Regan Carstensen and Anne Jacobson, The Republican Eagle
CANNON FALLS — When torrential rains poured down over Cannon Falls throughout the entire afternoon and evening Thursday, many local families were faced with trying to keep water out of their basements, garages and houses.
There was one family in particular, however, that had to sit by and watch its entire home get destroyed — unable to control any of the chaos.
On a good day, a group of swans can be found paddling through a pond in Minnieska Park. Running through the center of the park is the Little Cannon River, and along the park’s edge is where the birds have made their nest. When weather is calm, it’s a fine place to call home, but when things take a turn for the worse, a home may no longer exist.
After flood waters from this week’s severe weather eventually dry up, the swans will be lucky if they can find their nest in one piece.
“They always lose their home,” rural Cannon Falls resident Sharie Baszuro said, bringing up past floods that have also destroyed nests.
Baszuro and her three children were just a few of dozens of area citizens who went down to the park Friday morning to witness the flood damage.
While many gaped at the trees torn up by the roots, garbage cans almost submersed in water and picnic tables moved by rushing waves, several people were most concerned with the wildlife living in the area.
Two trumpeter swans and their three cygnets were calmly swimming in the overflow of the Cannon River when they drifted toward a more rapidly moving part of the stream.
Suddenly it was a fight between swan and Mother Nature. The rushing water pulled the cygnets downstream as they tried to swim against the current and back toward their parents.
After being brushed through some leafy branches of collapsed trees, the cygnets reached a point where they were able to swim toward a shallow area and get back to land.
Making sure not to return to the water, the family of swans spent at least the next half hour roaming the same flood-destroyed park grounds where people were standing by, observing. Returning to the nest — or lack thereof — was simply not an option.
“Now they’re going to have to fix up the swans’ house again,” rural Cannon Falls resident Darla Cohrs said. “It’s very traumatizing that we have this happening again.”
Not only does the flooding have an effect on the animals, but also on the people who regularly use Minnieska Park.
“It’s beautiful when it’s not flooded,” Baszuro said.
She and her kids often bike on the Cannon Falls portion of the Cannon Valley Trail, much of which is now covered with water.
“And we feed the ducks,” Baszuro’s son Nathan added.
Janet Lansing, who drove about nine miles from Sogn Valley to view the flooding, saw plenty of damage before she even reached Cannon Falls. Lansing said she witnessed trees fallen over roadways and entire fields immersed.
“I just feel sorry for the crops that are lost,” she said.
Looking at the overall outcome, one citizen was able to see past the destruction and remember that things could have been worse.
“As long as nobody has drowned, it’s still positive,” Vermillion resident Lori Siebenaler said.
Flooding sends bus into ditch
Flash flooding sent a bus into the ditch off Goodhue County Road 18 Thursday night.
The Metro Route 1 bus departed Treasure Island Resort & Casino around 10:30 p.m., a casino spokeswoman said. There were 16 passengers and the driver on board.
As the bus headed toward Hastings, rising waters from torrential rains caused the bus to go into the ditch. Several cars also left this stretch of road near the Etter Bridge.
A witness alerted Treasure Island’s dispatch center. The Prairie Island Police Department responded at 11 p.m. as well as casino security, which brought a Treasure Island shuttle bus to assist.
After the Metro Route bus was pulled from the ditch, the passengers were transferred to the shuttle. No passengers on the bus were injured and they returned to the casino at approximately 12:50 a.m. Four people stranded in personal vehicles also were brought to the casino.
“Thirteen people were provided hotel rooms and seven people decided they wanted to go back to the Twin Cities,” the casino said in a statement.
The Treasure Island shuttle took those individuals to the Cities. The remaining 13 people were returned to the Twin Cities Friday morning via a Treasure Island shuttle.
Cannon River levels changing
As of 4 p.m. Friday, the level of the Cannon River in Cannon Falls had been steadily dropping, Police Chief Jeff McCormick reported.
Early Friday morning the river was said to be continually rising. The afternoon report showed the Cannon River level lowering about 37 inches from its crest. The Little Cannon River has dropped about 55 inches from the crest.
Both the city of Cannon Falls and the Minnesota Department of Transportation re-opened roads they had previously closed because of flooding.
Although McCormick said the amount of damage is significant, it won’t be completely known until the rivers return to levels within the banks.
Barn destroyed by strong winds
Elsewhere in Goodhue County, a barn in Kenyon was torn apart around 7 p.m. when a storm passed through the area.
Bob and Helen Peterson’s property was in disorder as trees were blown over, areas were filled with standing water, a trailer was tipped on its side and metal scraps were found everywhere.
Although the foundation of the Petersons’ barn was still standing, a lot of debris from the building was strewn across the property and neighboring fields.
Nobody was hurt.
Goodhue County busy with calls
Since about 3:30 p.m. Thursday, the Goodhue County Sheriff’s Office has been buzzing with calls relating to storms, floods, power outages and damaged property.
Most of the action began when deputies spotted both rotating clouds and a wall cloud by County Road 9 and Highway 52. Sirens were promptly activated.
Over the next nine hours, about 50 calls came in from residents reporting fallen trees, rising water, sagging power lines and washed out bridges. The calls stretched across the entire county, with many coming in from Featherstone, Minneola, Cherry Grove, Leon, Hay Creek and Cannon Falls townships.
Boat launch closed
With recent rains resulting in high waters at Lake Byllesby, Dakota County Sheriff Dave Bellows announced at about 2 p.m. Friday that the boat launch at the lake is closed.
No boat traffic is allowed on the Lake Byllesby until the sheriff permits. When the launch re-opens, a no wake zone will remain in effect until further notice.
The sheriff’s website will be updated when the launch is again open to the public and boat traffic can resume.
Here are the official precipitation totals reported at area waste water treatment plants June 14:
Cannon Falls: 8"
Lake City: 2.31"
Red Wing: 5.5"
Welch: 6.37" (U.S. Lock & Dam No. 3)