Herald JournalHerald and Journal, July 1, 2002

Winsted, Lester escape a worse fate

By Ryan Gueningsman

Communities in our area experienced record rain-falls Monday night into Tuesday morning.

"We're just thankful for all the volunteers and the fire department helping out with things, and the guys from our maintenance department ­ Damon Thompson and David Meyer ­ working through the night to make sure all our pumps were working, and helping people with water in their basements," Winsted City Administrator Brent Mareck said.

Winsted Lake also rose, he said.

"We had probably a handful of calls from residents in Winsted with water in their basements ­ it was nothing to say we had a crisis or anything like that.

"It was a long night, though, Monday for a lot of people," Mareck said.

Although Winsted and Lester Prairie were hit hard, Silver Lake and Hutchinson were also pounded with the heavy rains.

"I know that we had some damage with people and water in their basements, and things like that," McLeod County Sheriff Wayne Vinkemeier said.

"We've had quite a bit of rainfall in the area over the past week or so, and in regards to the last rainfall Monday night, I think at that time we had between 5-6 inches of rain across McLeod County," McLeod County Emergency Management Director Kevin Mathews said.

The ground was already saturated from the rain the previous week, it really had no where to go, he said.

"In the City of Lester Prairie, they sand-bagged three houses Wednesday, and there were several roads closed due to water over them," Mathews said.

Lester Prairie had one residence that was flooded at Babcock Avenue, but that home has since been sandbagged, as well as two other homes, City Clerk Marilyn Pawelk said.

The Lester Prairie police, fire, city maintenance department, some county highway maintenance people, and some volunteers all helped with the sandbagging efforts.

"We've had a few other homes in town that we've been told of water running in ­ but it's not because of flooding and groundwater, it's seeping in because the ground is so saturated," Pawelk said.

"It was small compared to other situations ­ but to the people that were affected by it ­ it was major," she said.

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