MOTLEY-When it came, it came fast and it didn't give Dan and Elizabeth Posner a lot of time to get out of their home on their own.
It was an ice jam on the Crow Wing River, causing the river to overflow and surround their home. The water flooded their basement, up to 4 feet and left them stranded.
Conservation officers with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Brainerd West Station used their waterfowl hunting boat and rescued the couple. Tim Collette, one of the conservation officers who assisted in the rescue, said the call came in about 9:50 a.m. Friday, March 29, on the 4700 block of Azalea Road, between Pillager and Motley in Morrison County.
Collette said an ice jam caused the water to overflow the river bank, flooding the area where about six houses are located. Collette said some of the homes had people inside, who were fine and didn't need to be rescued and other homes were seasonal and unoccupied.
"This area has flooded in the past, but not to this extent," Collette said. "It all depends on an ice dam. That's what happened here. There was an ice dam that developed on the river just downstream from these houses and when that happens it basically creates a blockage and there is no place for the water to go, so it builds up and overflows the banks. ... There is nothing you can do with an ice dam.
"In this situation you basically have to wait until the hydraulic pressure of the water behind this built-up ice dam gets big enough to blow itself out and then the water will release. It will be a short-term affair, it will probably break today (Friday) or tomorrow, maybe a couple of days-it depends on how much water pressure there is before it will break and allow the water to recede back."
After being rescued, Dan Posner told the Dispatch, "This morning we were in the river, we were in the middle of the river. Our basement flooded and I tried to get some stuff. It's icy cold. This is the coldest my feet have ever been in my life and I'm an old guy. ... My wife is an angel and she warmed my feet."
Posner said he knows the flooding is not over. He said he thinks the ice chunks will clump up again and over time another ridge may build up and more flooding will occur.
"It's time to get out," he said.
Morrison County Emergency Management Communications Supervisor Victoria Ingram said the county is monitoring the areas when there is a potential for ice jams to develop and causing flooding, including the Crow Wing River near the Azalea Road area and near the Mississippi River at Fort Ripley. Ingram said residents who live in the low areas are notified of the water levels, potential flooding and given information on sandbagging.
Ingram said if any residents are concerned about flooding or for their safety, they are asked to call the sheriff's office at 320-632-9233.
Cass County Sheriff Tom Burch they also are monitoring water levels in the county, but so far have not had any issues with flooding. The sheriff's office also is offering its residents information on sandbags.
"There are a few residents who are sandbagging as a precaution," Burch said.
The National Weather Service in Duluth reported Friday afternoon the ice jam on the Crow Wing River released and the river dropped 3 feet.
The NWS reported the Mississippi River will approach minor flooding stage in Aitkin and Crow Wing counties Friday night. It reported minor river snowmelt flooding is possible, but overall the probability for widespread hazardous weather is low.
As of 5 p.m. Friday, the Mississippi River near Aitkin was at 12.84 feet, shy of flood stage at 13 feet. On Tuesday afternoon, the river was at 10.6 feet. The Mississippi River at Fort Ripley was at 10 feet during this same time, where minor flooding may occur.