Several homes flood along swollen Minnehaha Creek - KMSP-TV

Several homes flood along swollen Minnehaha Creek

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Photo by Scott Wasserman Photo by Scott Wasserman
EDINA, Minn. (KMSP) -

Recent rains led to a rapid rise in Minnehaha Creek, leaving many nearby residents swamped as the excess water flooded homes.

Lake Minnetonka, which feeds Minnehaha Creek through Gray's Bay Dam, reached record levels on Sunday morning with a measurement of 930.56 feet at 9:30 a.m. That marks a 4-inch increase since Friday alone and it eclipses the former record of 930.52 feet which was set in 2002.

The dam is discharging water at a rate of 300 cubic feet per second, but water is also flowing over the spillway just north of the dam at a rate of 215 cubic feet per second.

The National Weather Service measured 2.71 inches of rainfall at the international airport between Saturday and Sunday. At the height of that rain storm, Minnehaha Creek rose by about 1.5 feet and was flowing at a rate of 600 feet per second at Hiawatha Avenue.


FLOOD PREP: Where to get sandbags
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With an additional 1 to 3 inches of rain in the forecast, communities along the bank of Minnehaha Creek are bracing for additional flooding.

Already, officials in Edina say half a dozen homes have been impacted by the flooding. Neighbors along the creek were piling up sandbags as homeowners worked to sop up a wet mess.

"The damage is done," Brant Pallazza told Fox 9 News. "We can't hold back the creek, but the fact is -- people still want to come and are still doing it even though some of the battles are completely futile. I think they are doing it out of respect for Evelyn and love for the two of them."

Evelyn is an elderly resident who lives near the creek, and Pallazza admitted it felt helpless to work as hard as possible to get ahead of the flood.

"I know she is heartbroken, and to see her heartbroken crushes everyone else," he said.

Evelyn lost her husband of more than 30 years just a few weeks ago, and dozens of neighbors mobilized to help protect her property. At 7 a.m., the lower level was dry -- but an hour later, the carpet was destroyed and the furniture was at risk too.

"You can see a very nice, finished basement," Pallazza said. "The water is completely soaking ... and this is all throughout the entire basement."

Although the residents couldn't save Evelyn's basement, the sandbags were up on Saturday afternoon at the house next door. Soon after, Pallazza got a call from his friends, who were out of town.

"They were just getting on a plane and they were just frantic and asked us to take a look," he explained.

Two walls are now protecting that home, and pumps are moving water away from the house. If neighbors hadn't pitched in, it's pretty certain that the water would have infiltrated.

"It's there. It's at the house -- no question," Pallazza said.

Just a few blocks away, another group of friends and family came together to clean out the home of a recently deceased mother, grandmother and great-grandmother who passed away on Saturday night. The basement flooded, but her son is taking it in stride.

"It's almost therapeutic in one way," he told Fox 9 News. "It's like she sent a flood to keep us all busy, keep our minds off of being sad."

Back at Evelyn's home, neighbors say they don't care how long it takes. They will make sure their neighbors are taken care of.

"I think it just shows people really just want to help other people," Kathy Sandy said. "Many of these people, don't know them that well -- but just when the call came out, they came immediately."

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