We go to Duluth once a month or more for shopping or more fun stuff. I have not been there since the flood; our main route into the city runs next to the St. Louis River and was under water for a while.
On Wednesday I was shocked to hear the news from Duluth. What I did not realize was that a lot of rain also fell on the headwaters of two local rivers, the Moose Horn and the Kettle. We "only" had about two inches of rain that night; Sand Creek was high but not nearly as high as it was three weeks ago. But there was a huge gradient in rainfall in less than thirty miles to the northwest, with six to eight inches falling in places with the ground already saturated from previous storms.
The Kettle River, pictured above at Highway 23 near the kids' school, crested Friday morning at a level that beat the previous record, set in 1972, by two feet. The bridge in the picture is the one I sit under sometimes and play flute, with the water a good six feet below me.
I have some friends who live on the shores of the Kettle River. I'm sure they never imagined water reaching the tops of their kitchen cabinets; after all, it had never even been close. While they will keep their house, they are faced with a long and expensive cleanup. There are people in the town of Moose Lake who are not so lucky; their homes are beyond repair. No one thought this would ever happen.
So many weird weather events, so little time, and lives are changed in an instant. Is this the new normal?