Nearly a week after torrential rains fell across a huge swath of the state, parts of east-central Minnesota are still trying to cope with floodwaters and the damage they've caused.
Communities flooded one at a time, like tipping dominoes, said Kanabec County Sheriff Brian Smith. Ford Township was inundated almost a week ago. Then Knife Lake flooded. And finally the Snake River rose to historic levels in Mora, flooding homes and ruining campsites on the shores of Fish Lake.
"I think we're out of the emergency part of the flood, and now were getting into the recovery mode, which is usually the harder work," Smith said.
Locals are working to clear away some 20,000 sandbags as floodwaters drop in Mora. Downstream, the small town of Grasston, Minn., is still well above flood stage, Smith added.
The Snake River feeds into the St. Croix River, which was also pushed to the brink of its capacity this week. Dam flows at Taylors Falls on the Minnesota-Wisconsin border, rose to 10 times the seasonal average, and the strong currents claimed the life a local man, as he tried to photograph the rushing water.
Amy Frischmon, who runs historic paddle-boat tours at Taylors Falls, said the river was so high she had to cancel four days of tours, although by Monday afternoon it was safe again to launch.
"The last time we saw water higher than this was in 2001" during the spring, Frischmon said. "To have this much water on the St Croix River in mid-July is unprecedented."