Henderson braces for wintry mix after flooding

The flooding from a snowy winter is frustrating for those using detours to drive around closed roads, but imagine being marooned for two weeks.

“I thought, like last year, it would be a couple of days of inconvenience and I was prepared to live with that,” said Jamie McNay of Henderson. “As it turns out it was 15, 16 days that I was stuck at the house.”

In fact, it was only a few days ago that the water went down and the mud was scraped away from Highway 93, allowing McNay to finally leave.

“Like Mel Gibson in Braveheart, ‘Freedom!’” said McNay. 

That celebration could be short-lived. The floodgates are open now, but with more precipitation expected this week, the City of Henderson could remain isolated.

The Minnesota Department of Transportation says that along one part of Hwy 93, a flash flood from the Rush River and a slow rise from the Minnesota River could cause the floodgates to go up again.

“We work in coordination with their emergency management director and the rest of the community and when it’s time to put the floodgates up, we’re like, 'you bet. Go do it,'" said Jed Falgren of MnDOT. "We want to make sure that the damage the City of Henderson and other communities saw in the floods of the ‘60s [doesn’t] repeat itself.”

However, MnDOT does recognize road closures are a real problem for Henderson residents. 

“This is the direct road between the cities of Henderson and Le Sueur and obviously combines school districts,” said Falgren. “You’ve got a trip that is normally five to six miles that is now a 25-mile trip.”

While dry roads are a good sign right now that things will get back to normal soon, the forecast for more winter weather is not good news. 

“I can’t imagine in this day an age that a town, a thriving town, is cut off from the world...ya know, three of the four roads that go in and out of it,” said McNay. “It doesn’t make sense to me.”

If the water does come back up, MnDOT officials say they may try to put a temporary fix on the road to get it open until a more permanent repair can be made.