Lawmakers tour flood damage in southwestern Minnesota

People in southern and western Minnesota are dealing with a second round of flooding, as rivers rise a week after heavy rains inundated the region. On Sunday, U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar and U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson toured areas in Tracy and Windom impacted by flooding and high water.

The West Fork of the Des Moines River at Windom crested at 23.3 feet Saturday night, just short of the record set in 1969.

“The city’s really on the ball, and the local county and emergency people and so forth,” said Rep. Peterson during the stop in Windom. “They’ve gotten ahead of this. And that’s the important thing.”

The lawmakers toured Island Park, where ball fields are under water because of the flooding. They also stopped by other neighborhoods and saw where homes surrounded by flooding.

“It’s just one example of what we’re seeing all over southern and western Minnesota and our job is to come out to them to see how they can get some federal help,” Sen. Klobuchar said.

The Members of Congress are confident the flooding across the region meets the thresholds for FEMA assistance for public infrastructure, and are hopeful for more. Officials said it was important for people to document flood damage to their homes, businesses or farms even if they don’t need assistance. That would help federal officials get a full sense of the impact of the flooding.

“I think the biggest issues is going to be, it always is in these floods, is whether you get individual assistance or not and that’s a very hard threshold to meet,” Rep. Peterson said.

People who live in the affected communities said they were grateful the lawmakers came to get a first-hand look at the damage.

“We’re going to need a lot of help in this process, it’s going to be a long process,” said Brent Anderson, a Windom resident. “And hopefully they’ll have good voices for us when they get back up to the Capitol and be able to do what they can to get us the assistance that we need.”

Klobuchar also visited New Ulm to meet with local officials about flooding in that region. Gov. Mark Dayton is expected to visit Windom on Monday.