EDINA, Minn. - Worries in Minneapolis, Edina and other communities along Minnehaha Creek are rising as heavy rains push the creek either closer to, or inside homes.
In Edina residents are scrambling to sandbag. The city told homeowners who were forced to sandbag when Minnehaha Creek spilled its banks a few weeks ago to keep those bags in place, as there was a chance things would get dicey again. With heavy rain forecast for Thursday 2,500 additional sandbags were filled.
Chances are all of them will be forced into duty. In the backyards of 3 homes along East Sunnyslope road neighbors moved sandbags from the street by wheelbarrow to homes along the creek, and stacked them in an effort to keep the water at bay.
"I've never seen it this high for this long," said Jackie Hegman, "and we've lived here for 37 years."
Hegman's home isn't on the creek, but she and her husband are sharing in the water woes. They now have a large pond where the lawn normally is, and you need a vehicle with the height of an SUV to get in and out of their driveway. Her husband's beloved convertible is parked for the immediate future.
"I'm shocked that it's been going on for over three weeks, yes I am... and I wish it would go away," Hegman said with a weary chuckle.
In St. Louis Park they're a well-oiled sandbagging machine, as homeowners and businesses have been battling Minnehaha Creek for the past several weeks. This morning the creek was already three inches higher than it's been all spring, and city leaders are making plans to close some streets in low-laying areas as the rain continues to fall.
At Methodist Hospital workers are stacking up 3,500 sandbags that were filled yesterday.
A St. Louis Park city spokesman says several areas of town are impacted by rising water near Minnehaha Creek and other areas of the city. The following streets are currently closed or restricted:
- Louisiana Avenue, closed between Highway 7 & Louisiana Circle
- Louisiana Avenue, closed north of Walker Street
- Limited access on Excelsior Boulevard west of highway 100
- Limited access on Highway 7 west of Highway 100
Safety officials ask that residents avoid these areas and do not enter flooded streets. There have already been several reports regarding vehicles stuck in flooded streets.
Rain is expected to continue today in at least two more waves (mid-afternoon and overnight) and St. Louis Park city officials are seeking volunteers to help sandbag throughout the community later Thursday afternoon and evening. Those available to help are being asked to call (952) 562-2875.
In Minneapolis Thursday's heavy rains pushed the creek up and flooded intersections, alleys and parkways as the city's storm sewer system struggled to keep up.
City officials provided the following list of street and path closures on its website.As of 10:30 a.m. that list included:
- Cedar Ave at Minnehaha Parkway is flooded and closed. Barricades will be up shortly
- Minnehaha Parkway from Longfellow Ave to Bloomington Ave is flooded for vehicles. Barricades will be up shortly.
- Minnehaha Parkway is impassable from Pleasant Ave S to Nicollet Ave S. Barricades will be up shortly.
- Minnehaha Parkway from Bloomington Ave to 22nd Ave. The bike and walking paths are flooded.
- Dean Parkway at West Lake Street is flooded. Barricades will be up shortly.
- Lake Harriet Parkway - lower road
- Lake Nokomis walking and biking paths - 53rd Street to 22nd Avenue and Cedar Avenue to Derby Avenue
- Lake Hiawatha walking and biking paths from Minnehaha Parkway to 44th Street
The city says walking and bike paths near these areas and around water bodies such as lakes, creeks and rivers may also be impacted by heavy rains. Please use caution.