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Sunday, August 19, 2007

Another Minnesota Disaster

Please pray, everyone, this time for a city and an area I consider one of my "homes" on this earth. I spent four years in Winona, and in my teens, it was a place I always wanted to live.

Yet another disaster has hit Minnesota, this one due to the rains that hit and are still hitting SE Minnesota. Towns along the Mississippi and along the rivers feeding her have flooded, washed out bridges, and closed roads. So far, four people have been killed in flash floods, some are missing, and hundreds, if not more, have lost their homes to raging waters. More have yet to be evacuated as the rivers have not yet crested and rains are not coming to an end any time soon.

My Alma Mater, St. Mary's University, is sheltering some of the evacuees in the fieldhouse.

Winona, Minnesota City, and Goodview, all cities flooded out, are nestled at the base of the bluffs of the Mississippi. It's a beautiful area there along highway 61, but it's not the only places that are affected.

I grew up in Faribault, so during my college years, whenver I returned to school, I drove through Rochester on Highway 14, taking me through the farmlands of SE Minnesota, and into the bluffs, and to the last waystation before reaching Winona, that being Stockton. The little town is situated at perhaps the lowest point in the bluff country as the road begins to climb again once out of town. Highway 14 has ALWAYS been of of my favorite scenic areas of Minnesota as it winds the 12 miles from Lewiston to Winona, past Whitewater State Park, through lowlands, on a serpentine highway that passes serenly through the bluffs in all seasons.

That road is no longer passable. I don't know where it's been washed out, but Stockton itself has been evacuated as it is completely flooded, and further down, Highway 14 is impassable.

For those of the Map-challenged persuasion, there are two roads to Winona from the North: Highway 61, a four-lane along the Mississippi, typically used by those coming from the Twin Cities, and Highway 14, a two-lane running through several counties, typically used by the rest of Minnesota. I-90 runs past Winona a bit to the south, and is the only major interstate to pass nearby. The city is still accessable via I-90 to Highway 61 Northbound.

Saint Mary's University is situated at the very base of the bluff country as it meets Winona, right on Highway 14 about a mile or so before it meets Highway 61.

Please pray for all those who have lost so much, and for the safety of those who yet remain in their homes, for the rescuers, the Red Cross, and for the University and its employees who are expanding their services to provide hospitality to those who have been so suddenly displaced. Not only was I a student at SMU; I was an employee after I graduated, so somewhat aware of the facilities available and how thinly the still-summer-staff are stretched right now. Please keep them in your prayers.

Winona is still "home" to me and to friends of mine. I'm glad to see my alma mater providing a "home" for others, but I suspect that Gilmore Creek is likely threatening some of SMU's own territory. It wouldn't be the first time, and it won't be the last.

Thank God the students haven't moved in yet.

And thank God for all those who have so far survived, pray for the four who are missing and those who have lost their lives in the unprecendented flash flooding.


Hidden One said...


The Ironic Catholic said...

Adoro--I just posted about this.

SMU is basically OK--some minor damage. The bluffs on campus are impassible and not safe right now.

Stockton and Minn City are a MESS. The stories coming our are horrific.

About 100 people in the fieldhouse. Many more staying with friends and family.

Prayers appreciated.