UPDATE: Rain pummels region, targeting New Richland
May 11—NEW RICHLAND — With more than 5 inches of rainfall overnight Wednesday and into Thursday morning, New Richland was the region's hardest hit community by recent storms.
Residents were spending Thursday pumping out their basements. Some have sewage backed up, while others are dealing with basements flooded with water.
"The town's a mess," said Belinda Gold, clerk at New Richland Farm & Home Supply. "I was busy right away this morning, but now people are busy pumping their basements. I probably sold 30 sump pumps. It's just crazy. They were coming through the door and calling. It's just now calmed down."
New Richland Mayor Chad Neitzel declared a state of emergency because of the significant rainfall and resulting problems.
"We will continue to work to bring our system back to full capacity and mitigate problems associated with this event," city staff stated in a press release.
At Neighbor's Meats in New Richland, sand-bagging efforts were beginning around noon, and staff there said they were too busy to be interviewed by phone.
Michael Johnson, Waseca County administrator, said New Richland was hit hard.
"Our primary concern with any significant flooding or rain event is the city of New Richland," he said. "That's where we've experienced the most flooding in the past."
There have been some road closures in New Richland, Johnson said, as water has taken over the roadways. The retaining ponds and creeks are all full, and water is close to the top of the bridge on Main Street. Johnson said county staff are monitoring the situation.
However, the heaviest rain event is behind us, he said. "We'll continue to monitor and hope the water continues to regress as well. Things are at capacity. We've had lots of flooding in low-ground areas."
The storm overnight Wednesday dropped significant rainfall on other areas of southern Minnesota, too. Southern Waseca County was under a flash flood warning until noon.
"We had heavy rain overnight," said Bill Borghoff, lead forecaster with the National Weather Service in Chanhassen. "We had pretty wide reports of 2 to 4 inches and, in New Richland, it was closer to 5 or 6. That's resulted in some flash flooding in that area with some residences and structures experiencing some basement flooding."
And the wet weather isn't over. There will be periods of thunderstorms through Sunday morning, with another inch or 2 in some spots. "But I don't expect it to be as widespread as last night," he said about Wednesday's storms. "It will be scattered."
Here are rain totals for cities in the region as of 10 a.m. Thursday: Mankato, .8 inches at the airport and from 1 to 2 inches in town; New Ulm with 1.5 inches; Waseca with 1.25 inches; St. Peter with half an inch; St. James with 2.5 inches with the northwest corner of Watonwan County measuring 3.5 inches; Sleepy Eye with 3 inches; and New Richland, which was hit the hardest, with 5 inches.
"Things are blooming like crazy," Borghoff said. "The rain, warmer temps and humidity have aided that process."
He cautions drivers to avoid flooded areas as there might be some localized flooding through the weekend. "Not expecting too much," he said. "That will be widespread."
As for area temps, temperatures will remain a bit above normal in the 70s, with it being a bit cooler on Sunday, the NWS predicts.