Onlookers flock to Rapidan Dam following loss of home

Law enforcement have erected barricades near the Rapidan Dam in Blue Earth County, as the natural disaster attracts crowds of onlookers.

There was a steady stream of people visiting the dam Wednesday, a day after a nearby home was swallowed by rushing waters. 

"Its kind of like going to see a natural wonder of the world I think," said Carol Wyland of Mapleton. 

Wyland was visiting the site for the second day in a row, finding herself both devastated and fascinated by the disaster.

"Your heart is hurting for the people who the house belongs to but still it's just jaw-dropping."

Earlier this week, local authorities announced that the dam faced "imminent threat of collapse" as the Blue Earth River surged from recent heavy rainfall, eroding part of the riverbank. On Wednesday, officials said the dam is now less of a concern, as they shift focus to the stability of a nearby bridge.

"The concern is that the erosion could impact the piers supporting the bridge and that could impact the structural integrity of the bridge," said Blue Earth County Administrator Bob Meyer. "And so we’re continuing to explore mitigation options to make sure the bridge remains."

The eroding riverbank caused a family home to collapse into the river Tuesday. The same family’s nearby business, the Rapidan Dam Store, is now of major concern. The family has launched a fundraiser to help them rebuild.