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Midwest flooding: Family who lost home to flooded river vows to keep store open

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Family whose home collapsed into flooded river near at-risk site Minnesota Dam The family is committed to reopening their nearby store to sell their homemade pies and burgers. The family is optimistic even though heavy rains ravage much of the country, including in the northeast where one person died.

The store at Rapidan Dam remained standing late Wednesday, but the house where its owners, Jenny Barnes and her brother David Hruska, grew up collapsed into the Blue Earth River near Mankato the day before.

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Debris is shown stuck on the Grand Avenue Bridge over the Little Sioux River as a sump pump forces water back into the river, in Spencer, Iowa, Tuesday, June 25, 2024. The bridge was closed to traffic Tuesday at noon. (Tim Hynds/Sioux City Journal via AP)

“We don’t know what’s going to happen,” a post on the store’s Facebook page said Wednesday evening, adding that it had been a difficult experience. “The Dam Store hasn’t sold its last hamburger or sold its last slice of pie.”

Hundreds of homes damaged or destroyed by flooding elsewhere in the Upper Midwest are among the first material casualties of extreme weather conditions gripping the area as floodwaters move south. Strong storms also swept through parts of the Northeast on Wednesday evening and Thursday morning, initially leaving some 250,000 people in the region without power.

AP Correspondent Donna Warder reports on a partially broken dam, leading to the loss of a home for a Minnesota family.

In Connecticut, a man was killed by a fallen tree during overnight storms, authorities said. Crews used a chainsaw to free him, who was pronounced dead.

In western Pennsylvania, the storms likely spawned at least three tornadoes, according to the National Weather Service. The suspected tornadoes touched down in parts of Allegheny and Westmoreland counties, and crews were there Thursday to survey the damage. The storms also brought heavy rain and gusts of up to 70 mph to the region, bringing down power lines and trees and damaging some homes and other structures. No injuries were reported.

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After flooding the area over the weekend, Rotary Park is finally emerging from the depths of the Big Sioux River. Wednesday, June 26, 2024, in Canton, SD. (AP Photo/Josh Jurgens)

Parts of Nebraska, Iowa, South Dakota and Minnesota have been experiencing flooding due to torrential rains since last week, while also suffering from a stifling heatwave. Up to 46 centimeters of rain fell in some areas, pushing some rivers to record levels. Hundreds of people were rescued and at least two people died after driving into flooded areas.

In Iowa, more towns prepared for floodwaters, but at least some were able to catch a break. The West Fork of the Des Moines River crested Wednesday evening at about 17 feet (5 meters), where it will linger for a bit before the waters begin to recede. Humboldt County Emergency Manager Kyle Bissell breathed a sigh of relief Thursday morning at the news, noting that although the swollen river had wreaked havoc on several dozen homes, the threat of additional damage had diminished.

“They had a lot of time to prepare and they did a great job,” he said of Humboldt homes and businesses.

Bissell said about 50 to 75 homes reported minor damage, with water seeping into their basements, fewer than the expected 200 homes. Only a few unoccupied summer cabins appear to have suffered significant damage.

A levee on the Little Sioux River in Monona County, Iowa, was damaged by flooding, but county emergency coordinator Patrick Prorok said Wednesday the flooding was contained by another segment of the dike system. The levee was the only one in federal operation to fail in the area, according to the Omaha District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

In the coming days, Nebraska and northwest Missouri are expected to begin to feel the effects of downstream flooding. Many streams and rivers may not peak until later this week. The Missouri River will peak in Omaha on Thursday, said Kevin Low, a hydrologist with the National Weather Service.

Some of the most stunning images are of floodwaters surging around Minnesota Dam.

Jessica Keech and her 11-year-old son saw part of the house near the dam fall into the river Tuesday evening. They had often visited the area to see the dam and taste the pie from the Dam Store.

“It kind of sucked him into the water. I literally disappeared,” said Keech, of nearby New Ulm.

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A bridge crossing Beaver Creek on Lori Lems’ property is devastated after flooding in the area over the weekend. Wednesday, June 26, 2024, in Canton, SD. (AP Photo/Josh Jurgens)

Blue Earth County officials said Wednesday that the river had cut wider and deeper into the riverbank and that they were concerned about the integrity of a nearby bridge over the river. Once the flooding subsides, the county must decide whether to repair the dam or potentially remove it — both options costing millions of dollars.

President Joe Biden spoke by phone with Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz to discuss impacts on Rapidan Dam and the Federal Emergency Management Agency arrived in Minnesota, White House officials said .

Preliminary information from the National Weather Service shows that recent flooding has brought record river levels to more than a dozen locations in South Dakota and Iowa, surpassing previous crests by an average of about 3 .5 feet (1 meter).

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Rachel Morsching sits Tuesday, June 25, 2024, on the flooded porch of her father Dean Roemhildt’s home in Waterville, Minnesota. Waters from nearby Lakes Tetonka and Sakatah have encroached on the city amid recent heavy rains. (Casey Ek/The Free Press via AP)

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Jared Gerlock, left, and his son, Robbie, carry a trash can full of waterlogged stuffed animals out of the flood-damaged basement of their home on East Second St. in Spencer, Iowa, on Tuesday June 25, 2024. Officials say about 40% of city properties were affected after Little Sioux River flooded. (Tim Hynds/Sioux City Journal via AP)

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This long exposure drone photo provided by AW Aerial shows a house as it teeters before partially collapsing into the Blue Earth River at Rapidan Dam in Rapidan, Minnesota, Tuesday, June 25, 2024. (Andrew Weinzierl/AW Aerial via AP)

This led to flooding that devastated neighborhoods in some riverside communities in South Dakota, Iowa and Nebraska, including in North Sioux City, South Dakota, where flooding collapsed streets, destroyed buildings utility poles and trees and swept several houses off their foundations.

Many roads were closed due to flooding, including Interstates 29 and 680 in Iowa, near the Nebraska line.

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Collins reported from Hartford, Connecticut. Associated Press reporters Summer Ballentine in Jefferson City, Missouri, John Hanna in Topeka, Kansas, and Lisa Baumann in Bellingham, Washington, contributed to this report.

News Source : apnews.com
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