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Dodge County floods

3 inches of rain in 2 hours sends creeks out of their banks

By John Weiss

Post-Bulletin, Rochester MN

WEST CONCORD — This time, it was Dodge County’s turn to get pounded by rain and deal with flooded streams.

About 3 inches of rain fell over two hours late Sunday and early Monday, Dodge County authorities estimated.

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Late Sunday night, the Middle Fork of the North Branch of the Zumbro River started to come out of its banks. One couple west of West Concord was evacuated from their home as a precautionary move.

Dodge County Emergency Management Director Ryan Chartier said this morning he wasn’t sure how extensive damage was because reports were still coming in, but the areas hit hardest seemed to be Ellington and Concord townships where some homes had flooded basements or sewage backing up.

Heavy rains began falling Sunday on ground that was saturated by a storm on Saturday. Chartier received the call about the rising water about 11 p.m. Sunday. Two to three feet of water was running through fields in the area near the river as of about 1 a.m., the National Weather Service said.

The Dodge County Sheriff’s Office received a call overight about a car stranded on Dodge County Road 24. The West Concord Fire Department was dispatched, but wasn’t needed.

Firefighters, however, knew the nearby home of Dale and Pat Dohrmann could be threatened by rising waters, said West Concord Fire Chief Bill Dessner. The sheriff’s department called the couple before Dessner and firefighter Dave Breedland went out to help them get to safety. The two wore lifejackets and were tethered with 200 feet of rope in order to follow the driveway to the couple’s home, Dessner said.

Water was about chest high and cold. They had to shuffle along to keep their footing , he said. The Dohrmanns were waiting for them, firefighters gave them lifejackets and they all hooked up to the one line to get to safety, Dessner said.

"They were happy to see us," he said.

It was the first time in his 14 years on the department that they had to rescue people from flooding, he said.

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Water was close to their home so the evacuation was more precautionary, Dessner said.

Early this morning, flooding was occurring on the river from the West Concord area downstream to Berne, the weather service said.

By sunrise today, flood waters were already receding, but many roads were still under water. Doug Rhodes, who works for Concord Township, and Township Supervisor Bill Lambert were putting up a half dozen barricades this morning. Another crew added a few more.

At Dodge County Road B and 170th Avenue, Rhodes and Lambert could see the water had been over the intersection because of debris and the surface was rutted by water.

"I have never seen water up in this intersection," said Rhodes, 53, who has lived in the area all his life.

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