Rare January flooding hits mayor's house in Kasota, Minn.

- January is supposed to be the one month of the year when Minnesota does not have to worry about flooding, but while winter flooding is unusual, it’s not impossible.

Kasaota, Minn., just south of St. Peter, is dealing with rare January flooding as the water level of the Shanaska Creek continues to rise. The only property affected so far happens to be the mayor’s house.

Monday turned into a panic day for Jim Klein and his wife Bridget, the mayor of Kasota, as they battled several inches of water in their basement. With the water rising close to the door of their workshop, they realized fighting back this winter flood was not something they could do alone.

“Not what you’d expect to do in the winter,” Klein said. “I’d rather be sitting out fishing.”

Volunteers helped place 900 sandbags, hoping to protect the house and workshop, which are just 10 to 20 feet from edge of the creek.

Le Suer’s emergency manager contacted the Department of Natural Resources, who made a site visit Friday morning.

“I’m anticipating to find some sort of blockage,” DNR hydrologist Garry Bennett said. “It may not be that smoking gun where we could say this is obviously the cause of any flooding in the city of Kasota. We might be looking for more ice jamming things of that nature.”

After combing miles of the winding creek and surveying the problem, it's clear the creek is nowhere near flood stage.

But a four to five foot ice jam was found about a quarter of a mile away. However, Bennett is not convinced that is the root cause of the flooding.

“It is January, so I know we had kind of had a delayed winter. But I don't know if its fair to call this early winter.  We are not sure yet.

For now, Klein continues to work to keep his sump pump from freezing and is watching his step in an entire yard piled with sandbags and all covered in ice.

By the end of the day the overall consensus is the cause of this flooding is still a mystery, but it is something the community is definitely keeping a close eye on. 

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