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Minnesota communities fight against floodwaters

By Deborah E. Bloom, CNN
updated 11:04 PM EDT, Sat June 28, 2014
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Several Minnesota communities are under water
  • Residents are sandbagging around their homes and businesses
  • The National Weather Service says rivers are starting to recede

(CNN) -- Karen Schlieve and her fiancé were supposed to be married in July on a pavilion in St. Paul, Minnesota, against the backdrop of the Mississippi River. But Mother Nature had other plans.

Today, that same pavilion is under several feet of water, in a surge of flooding that has swept through several Minnesota towns. At the height of wedding season, Schlieve must now find a different venue.

"I never would have thought, never would have imagined this would happen," Shlieve told CNN affiliate WCCO.

In several cities across the state, communities are moving fast to protect their neighborhoods from rising floodwaters.

In St. Paul, residents are using pumps to remove water from their properties, said meteorologist Chris Franks at the National Weather Service. And along the Minnesota River -- a tributary of the Mississippi River -- the community of Henderson has only one road to get around town, Franks said.

Residents of Prior Lake are continuing to pile sandbags up to 5 feet high to protect their homes and businesses. People, wading through the high floodwaters, are building dikes to prepare for the rain forecasted for Saturday and Sunday.

"The summers is pretty much over," said Gil Roscoe to CNN affiliate KARE. "Nobody wants to swim in this now."

A particularly wet year is likely to blame for the floods.

With just over 25 inches of rain since the beginning of 2014, the Twin Cities are on track to have the wettest year on record, Franks said. And heavy rain continued to fall in several cities -- Prior Lake included -- through the start of the weekend.

But there could be an end in sight.

Though the torrential rains continue, they'll likely have little to no effect on water levels because the Minnesota rivers are starting to recede, Franks said.

"It's a very slow process, but the water levels are indeed going out."

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