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Marshall Rosner, center, tossed a sandbag to Chase Gross in the Gross family’s back yard Sunday along Minnehaha Creek in Edina.

David Denney • ddenney@startribune.com,

The heavy rainfall caused a mudslide that occurred on Sunday morning on Burr Ridge Lane in Eden Prairie.

CARLOS GONZALEZ • cgonzalez@startribune.com,

A mudslide occurred on Sunday morning on Burr Ridge Lane in Eden Prairie, causing a home to sit precariously on the edge of the new ravine.

CARLOS GONZALEZ • cgonzalez@startribune.com,

Weekend of torrential rains leaves Twin Cities neighborhoods awash

  • Article by: PAT PHEIFER
  • Star Tribune
  • June 2, 2014 - 3:09 PM

A weekend of torrential rains left homeowners piling up sandbags along Minnehaha Creek, untreated sewage flowing into area lakes and runners on the sidelines Sunday.

Storm totals varied widely across the metro area, from just under 3 inches at Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport to nearly 5 inches in Spring Park.

There's a chance of more showers Monday morning before clearing around midday.

An already swollen Minnehaha Creek continued to rise in St. Louis Park and Edina Sunday as homeowners hauled sandbags and manned pumps in hopes that they could keep the floodwaters out of their homes and maybe, just maybe, salvage their freshly planted gardens.

Schar and Charlie Gross have lived on Cascade Lane in Edina for 25 years. About a dozen yards from their back door, the creek — even when it’s running high — usually stays 5 or 6 inches below the lip of their retaining wall. On Sunday, the water spilled over three layers of sandbags already sitting atop the wall as the couple, along with friends and neighbors, were adding three more.

In Eden Prairie, a mudslide opened an 80-foot ravine in the back yards of two homes on Burr Ridge Lane. An excavator that had been brought in three weeks ago to do a small storm sewer repair sat at the bottom of the ravine and the porch and deck of a home that once sat on flat ground teetered precariously over the huge hole.

Untreated sewage from Mound was released at six sites near local lakes Sunday after the heavy rains threatened to force backed-up wastewater into the basements of about 1,000 homes.

City officials said the sanitary sewer system was “overwhelmed” by the amount of rain and it received permission from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency to bypass the untreated sewage until the wastewater collection system can handle the volume. Sewage will make its way into Lake Minnetonka, Lake Dutch and Lake Langdon, where it will be greatly diluted, but officials warned that the level of E. coli bacteria will increase and could cause illness.

Rain and lightning caused a delay and then cancellation of the Minneapolis Marathon, half marathon and relay races Sunday morning. In St. Paul, however, the Grand Old Day parade went on as scheduled.

The official rainfall total at the National Weather Service office in Chanhassen was exactly 3 inches from the time the rain started Saturday into Sunday afternoon, said meteorologist Michelle Margraf.

Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport got 2.3 inches on Sunday alone, breaking the record for June 1 that had been set back in 1944. The total at the airport was 2.95. Other suburbs were harder hit: Spring Park had 4.83; Watertown, 4.6; Apple Valley 4.2; Cottage Grove, 4.0; Shakopee, 3.83, and Maple Grove and Jordan both got 3.7.

For much of the day, anxious residents and weekend revelers looked skyward, waiting for the next act.

Margraf said that new storms were headed into the Twin Cities Sunday night, with forecasters expecting another half-inch to three-quarters of an inch of rain before the drying-out starts on Tuesday.

Minnehaha Creek at Hiawatha Avenue was at 16.88 feet earlier Sunday but had fallen to 16.34 feet by 6 p.m., according to the Minnehaha Watershed District. That’s still a foot higher than just six days earlier on May 25.

Lake Minnetonka was at record levels Sunday, the agency said. At 9:30 a.m., the lake reached 930.56 feet, an increase of 4 inches since Friday. The old record was 930.52 feet set in September 2002.

Lightning on Saturday was blamed for two house fires and a Dayton woman was knocked unconscious while watching a youth baseball game in Ham Lake Lion’s Park on Saturday afternoon. The 48-year-old woman, Christine Anne Kloeppner, was revived by paramedics and taken to Mercy Medical Center in Coon Rapids. A hospital spokeswoman said Sunday that her family had asked that the hospital not release any information on her condition.

Rising waters

Laura and Gary Aulik, upstream neighbors to the Gross family in Edina, had planned a graduation party for Sunday, but luckily decided earlier in the week to postpone it until next weekend. Gary Aulik and several co-workers from his business hauled about a pallet and a half of sandbags provided by the city of Edina to the back yard to protect their home. Laura Aulik transplanted a few fragile plants that had been underwater to an above-water spot in the garden. The seeds she’d put in were gone and would have to be replanted.

Her rain gauge, she said, showed about 4 inches had fallen overnight.

Marshall Rosner, downstream neighbor of the Grosses, hauled over a water pump in a wheelbarrow and stood in calf-deep water in the yard as he watched a stream of water from the hose flow back into the creek.

“We’ve had water in our yard before, but never like this,” Schar Gross said.

Although the water approached their foundation, the basement was dry, she said.

Elsewhere, many bike and walking paths around lakes in Minneapolis were flooded and a few detours were in place where roads had been covered in water.

 

Pat Pheifer • 952-746-3284

 

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