Torrential rain caused flooding to several roads, including Orchard Road east of Spring Valley.  PHOTO BY PAULA VAGTS/SPRING VALLEY TRIBUNE
Torrential rain caused flooding to several roads, including Orchard Road east of Spring Valley. PHOTO BY PAULA VAGTS/SPRING VALLEY TRIBUNE
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The area was hit with strong storms Sunday evening, but the major problem was the amount of rain that fell on the already saturated ground as the Spring Valley Creek flooded its banks in downtown Spring Valley.

The several inches of rain Sunday evening caused flooding, which was the most significant in downtown Spring Valley since 2000, the last of a string of several floods in two years. The flooding caused damage to local businesses and closed Highway 63 at the intersection with Main Street for a while late Sunday night and early Monday morning.

The water started flowing over its banks between 9 and 10 p.m. Deb Zimmer, who was attending a B.B. King concert in Rochester until her phone started filling up with messages, said she couldn't get across the street into City Hall at 10 p.m. The water went down from 2 to 4 a.m. as fast as it went up and she was able to get into the building after 4 a.m.

Brenda Haack at the Spring Valley Bakery was also planning on attending the concert until she got messages about the flooding. She got to meet the musician in the elevator, but wasn't able to stay for the concert as she and her husband, Pete, decided to head back to Spring Valley to take care of their business.

It had already been a stressful weekend for the couple as a mixer went out just prior to Wilderfest, which was expected to be a busy event for them. Pete had gotten that equipment taken care of earlier that day so they would be ready to open this week.

Now, they will have to remain closed at least until Thursday because everything from the basement is sitting upstairs. They have had to cancel some orders during this busy time of graduation.

"It's the worst water damage we've ever had except when we lost the compressors," which was in 2000, she said. There are some areas in the basement in which spring water keeps coming out and won't quit.

Zimmer said the community center and City Hall both have substantially more water in the basement than normal, but she wasn't sure of the cause as of Monday afternoon because the water was still being pumped out.

Businesses as far up the block as SEMA on the east side were pumping out their basements while Johnny Ringo's on the west side was doing the same. The water also blocked off the cutoff road beside Highway 63, so that the detour was past the city cemetery around on Minnesota 16.

Although originally the main threat was from possible tornadoes and severe thunderstorms, Zimmer said the storm damage was minor. Some trees were down in the park, but the major problems were from flooding, as a bench in the park was bent over from the water and the gravel on the downside of the new trail bridge disappeared. Trees, brush and debris also need to be cleared now that the water has gone down.

"It wasn't real significant for us," she said. "It was minor compared to what we used to have happen."

Volunteers for the city had a hectic day. The ambulance service had a breakfast in the morning. Then, a fire downtown required the services of firefighters, ambulance personnel and law enforcement. The flood brought many of them back for more.

As this issue of the Tribune went to press, there was still worry about more rain on the way. Haack had heard that people in Adams were starting to sandbag again Monday afternoon.

"The ground is saturated. It can't take any more," said Haack.