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Southwest Minnesota counties hit with 10 inches of rain forcing some residents to evacuate

Water overlows the shoreline at Lake Shetek north of Slayton in Murray County in southwest Minnesota. Photo courtesy of Tammy De Vos1 / 5
Water overlows the shoreline of Lake Shetek forcing evacuations on Tuesday north of Slayton in Murray County in southwest Minnesota. Photo courtesy of Tammy De Vos2 / 5
Lakes Marina at Lake Shetek floods after 6-plus inches of rain falls Tuesday morning. (Tim Middagh/The Globe)3 / 5
Volunteers sandbag Tuesday at Muecke RA Sand and Gravel Inc. just outside of Slayton. (Tim Middagh/The Globe) 4 / 5
The Highway Patrol blocks off traffic on Highway 59 just north of Lake Sarah Baptist Church. (Tim Middagh/The Globe)5 / 5

SLAYTON, Minn. — Residents in southwestern Minnesota are stacking sandbags and bracing for more rain after torrential downpours washed out roads and flooded basements.

On Tuesday, Lyon, Redwood and Murray counties were dealing with headaches after an estimated 8 to 10 inches of rain fell overnight in some places. As the rain stopped Tuesday morning, many homeowners were dealing with flooded basements and other storm damage, with some residents forced to evacuate.

The lakes area in northern Murray County, which experienced heavy rains last week, was hit the hardest, with campgrounds and roads being completely overrun.

“The lakes region really got hammered last week and that water still hadn’t gone down,” said Christy Riley, Murray County Community Relations Coordinator. “Those townships up there were our heaviest hit before, and now it’s going to be catastrophic for the homeowners with water in their basements.”

Murray County Sheriff’s Office personnel were sent to Lake Shetek and Lake Sarah to help residents evacuate. There were no emergency evacuations, but about 70 kids at a Lake Shetek church camp were evacuated and reunited with their parents to be safe.

Murray County officials were focusing its efforts on sandbagging for the moment, with help from volunteers.

The rain came down fast. The National Weather Service reported 7.1 inches of rain had fallen four miles north of Currie within two hours.

“If you talk to people that have lived here their entire lives, they’re never seen this much water,” Riley said.

MnDOT issued a no-travel advisory for Murray County at 8:51 a.m. and closed several roads. As of 3:06 p.m. Tuesday, U.S. 59 near Lake Shetek and U.S.14 from Tracy to Walnut Grove are still closed.

The American Red Cross has opened an evacuation shelter in the 4-H building at the Murray County Fairgrounds.

The Sheriff’s Office is warning residents to stay out of flooded basements to avoid possible electrocution from electrical wiring. It expects water levels to rise in some areas as water from Marshall — which was also flooded this morning — runs south.

“With the rain in Marshall, all of that water comes through here,” Riley said. “With that, there could be additional levels of rising.”

The weather service said more thunderstorms in the area were possible through Thursday night.

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