Rain, then pain

This aerial view on the northwest side of Tracy shows the extent of Tuesday’s flooding on that side of town. Rising waters turned Food Pride into an island (bottom of photo).

Flooded intersections and parking lots. Basements besieged by water. Collapsed foundations. A backed-up sewage system that only added insult to injury. It all led to a miserable week in Tracy — and all over the area.

Torrential rainfall causes raft of soggy woes

Andy and Amy Anderson did the only thing they could to get food and other items to their place on Keeley Island last Wednesday. Amy’s parents brought various goods from Edgerton, and the Andersons took it from there, via innertube.

Tracy residents awoke last Tuesday to a downpour, and much of it was in their own basements. Unofficially, Tracy received more than 6 inches of rain in about three hours overnight Monday — and nearly 12 total — causing heavy flooding in every corner of the city. The result was a washed-out 4th of July holiday and clean-up efforts that will likely last for months. Some unlucky drivers who tempted fate to navigate through deep water at certain intersections Tuesday ended up abandoning their car.

“This is more water than I’ve ever seen,” Tracy Police Chief Jason Lichty said last Tuesday. “You can’t plan for this. I ended up rescuing a gal out of her car at Emory and Center. Her car stalled out in the water and the water filled the entire interior of her car up to the steering wheel. She was scared to get out because the water was moving fast and she couldn’t swim.”

Over at Food Pride, a bread delivery truck nearly tipped over when the driver misjudged where the entrance to the store parking lot was. He, too, was stranded temporarily.

“I guess I missed the drive way. What was I thinking?” was all the driver could say as he sat in his truck pondering his next move.

Morgan Street between Food Pride, Subway and leading into Casey’s was perhaps the worst area in town Tuesday morning.  There was also damage to homes Tuesday, some of it severe. At least five houses suffered collapsed foundation walls, including the Elm Street home of Mary DeBlieck.

Son-in-law Steve Johnson said DeBlieck could hear when the wall caved in. “It boomed,” he said. “She was pretty upset.”

Lichty said residents had issues, not just with rain water, but raw sewage as well. Homeowners in different parts of the city had raw sewage coming in from their toilets. Estimates are that between 25% and 30% of homes have suffered damage due to backed-up sewers.

State agencies have officially requested help from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Preliminary numbers show damage in southern Minnesota from flooding will exceed $7.7 million in damage. That means the state should qualify for major federal assistance.

For much more on flood waters throughout the area, see this week’s Headlight-Herald.

Torrents of white water flowed down Hwy. 14 on the morning of July 3.