Flood Waters Receding an Inch an Hour in Moose Lake

By KBJR News 1

July 2, 2012 Updated Jul 2, 2012 at 1:57 PM CDT

Moose Lake (Northland's NewsCenter) - As Moose Lake residents came together Wednesday and Thursday to stack over 27,000 sandbags against the flood, they were greeted Friday by a promising sight: the water was receding.

"It's a great improvement from what it was yesterday. The water was extremely deep, and you couldn't even get around some of these surroundings. They weren't letting anybody in on either side of town," said Cloquet Resident Mike Lawrey, who has been in Moose Lake since Thursday.

According to local fire crews, who are currently systematically pumping flooded basements, since Thursday, floodwater had receded by a foot and a half, at the rate of about an inch an hour—the same rate it had initially began rising.

"The outpouring of help is incredible. The community really comes together. The young people—the youth—helping, the high schoolers that could be doing something else were here working," said volunteer Jared Skog.

And, for every inch of water that does recede, a clearer picture of the extent of damage begins to surface. However, in many areas in Moose Lake, it's still too early to tell.

"You'll drive by, and you think it's just nothing in the water, and [it's] a whole vehicle. It's completely under water, you can just see the top of it," said Jessica Lane, an E3 Firefighter with the Coast Guard.

And, while the sewer system is back in operation, and the Minnesota Department of Health has determined city water is safe to drink, transportation is still a major issue.

"The concern right now, with the water receding the way it has, is that the bridge is still possibly unsafe, and we need the Department of Transportation to come in and inspect it, which they plan to do. There are also gas lines, and other things, that could pose a hazard if they're not inspected before we allow people to cross," said MN State Patrol officer Erick Sjodin.

But, no matter what roadblock the community encounters, it's a uniquely Northland resilience that seems to be making the best of a tragic situation in Moose Lake.

"It's nice to know that anything up here, in Northern Minnesota, is not going to stop anybody from whatever's going to be going on. Mother Nature can do whatever [she] wants to us, but it's not going to stop us," said Cloquet resident Renee Lawrey.

...another silver lining for the Moose Lake community, as Mercy Hospital and Nursing Home is continuing its operations, and plans to resume with its surgery schedule by Monday.