June 19 news

ROCK RAPIDS, Iowa – The travel ban put in place by the Lyon County Sheriff’s Office earlier this week has been lifted. All major highways in Lyon County are now open. There may be some problems on blacktops in the Doon area, according to an advisory on the sheriff’s office website.

Caution is also advised on gravel roads, especially those with bridges. There are still wash-outs and culverts out of place. Again, the travel ban has been lifted, but caution is still advised.

LUVERNE – According to Blue Mounds State Park Manager Chris Ingebretson, the park is closed until July 14 due to flood damage. Campers with reservations at the park have been notified and are being offered refunds or transfer of reservations to another Minnesota state park.

As of Wednesday, the hiking trails, campgrounds and roads will be closed to the public due to the flooding and damages caused, Ingebretson said. The park will be closed at least through July 13, and he is hopeful things can be re-opened July 14. By then, he said, he and his staff should have time to secure areas that are unsafe.

The park has received more than 11 inches of rain since June 14. Rapidly rising waters and accompanying debris in Blue Mounds Creek caused damage to many areas of the park, including roads, trails, bison fence and the spillway connected to the dam on Lower Mound Lake. Heavy flows of surface water caused additional damage.

In spite of the damage, no visitors to the park were injured or evacuated. The park’s bison herd weathered the storms and remains in good health.

DNR engineers have visited the scene and are determining a plan to address damage to roadways, trails and the spillway/dam. Crews with Conservation Corps of Minnesota and Iowa are assisting with cleanup.

All of Rock County is struggling with flooding issues, and that isn’t the only issue Blue Mounds State Park has fought this year. An E. coli breakout early this spring also complicated the camping season.

LUVERNE - The American Red Cross has paired up with local officials to distribute cleanup kits and flood recovery tips to people in Luverne. The Red Cross cleanup kits contain mops, buckets, bleach, gloves, cleaning products and other necessities to start dealing with the flooding damage. The kits can be picked up at the Rock County Sheriff’s Office on North Blue Mounds Avenue.

The Red Cross is in communication with local emergency managers to evaluate the situation as it continues to evolve.

SLAYTON - The Murray County Sheriff’s Office has issued a NO WAKE ADVISORY on all lakes in Murray County.

The water level has increased on area lakes due to the heavy rains and flooding which is hazardous to property and public safety. In addition, debris and flooded docks can be lying just under the surface of the water that can cause damage or injuries to those on the lake.

The Sheriff’s Office highly encourages all boaters to slow down and use extreme caution. The NO WAKE ADVISORY will remain in effect until further notice.

ROCK VALLEY, Iowa - The City of Rock Valley will be meeting with state employees today to discuss debris management. They will talk about specific rules and regulations on how residents should dispose of affected personal properties from flooded areas.

Rock Valley City Administrator Tom Van Maanen said residents who had items ruined in the flooding can place them at the end of their property. He said the State employees will also inform the city of potential safety hazards when dealing with flood waters and damaged homes after the waters receded.

Four to six more pumps arrived in Rock Valley from the State of Iowa sometime today to help speed up the recovery process of draining standing water from around the city.

Bridges around the city will remain closed until after they have been inspected by the DOT and the County and deemed safe. Highway 18 West of Rock Valley remains closed as well as North Main Street in Rock Valley. Van Maanen says they will remain closed until road engineers have said they are safe for travel as well.

Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa, has offered temporary housing for some of the residents displaced from Rock Valley.

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