Fillmore County Flood Damage Tops $1 Million

Posted at: 06/26/2013 7:25 PM
By: Jenna Lohse

(ABC 6 NEWS) -- Fillmore County officials are estimating upwards of a million dollars in damage from recent flooding. The Highway 43 bridge near Choice needs repairs because flooding washed out the roads around it. County officials say this is the case for many of the roads in the area, but losses go well beyond infrastructure.

"I farmed out a couple of plants," said Donna Johnson of Mabel.

Donna Johnson lives in Mabel, and Sunday morning she woke up to an unsettling surprise.

"He says it's flooding and you got to get up, and when I put my feet on the floor, water up to my ankles," said Johnson.

Water flooded into her basement and covered nearly a foot of her first floor.

"We've never seen water like this," said Johnson.

For the time being, Donna is living in an apartment across town. On Wednesday, her relatives were filling a second dumpster full of her soggy belongings.

"In that dumpster that just left is 62 years of collecting," said Johnson.

Things can be found drying out on the lawn down the street Donna lives on, where three of her rental properties also flooded. This is the story for many people throughout Fillmore County.

"Sewer backups, just the wet basements and things from Harmony to Mabel to Lanesboro and on down, it's a very widespread area," said Fillmore County Sheriff Daryl Jensen.

Fillmore County Sheriff Daryl Jensen says there's been flooding in Fillmore County in the past, but this is the worst he's seen.

"It might be a million, it might be somewhere between a million and two million by the time it's done," said Jensen.

Repairing a bridge on Highway 43 and completely rebuilding another bridge on County Road 23 adds up quickly.

"We're not just concerned about the bridges, there's a lot of people that have some personal concerns that we're trying to help with too," said Jensen.

Sheriff Jensen says there's many people like Donna, who are working to salvage what's left of their homes. But under all the water and mud, Donna still finds a spark of hope.

"I've got so much to be grateful for, I've got my life and my good health," said Johnson.

County officials say they're waiting to hear back from the state as well as many townships and will have a better idea of how much the flood damage will cost next week.