And then the rains came...

After a long period of hot, dry, weather the rains have come, several showers and then a whole weekend of near constant rain.

Driving down Highway 61 in the early hours of the morning I was just south of Rollingstone, Minnesota and headed towards Winona when firefighters and their equipment filled the southbound lanes. No one was getting through. Nearly a foot of rain coursing through the steep valleys had rendered many roads impassible and towns like Stockton and Minnesota City were flooded.

Seeking an alternate route I drove through Rollingstone to Altura and then south, essentially attempting a loop around the flooded area. Traveling on Winona County highway 33 I came up over a hill and discovered the road below flooded with a torrent of water the color of coffee with cream, depth unknown, and cascading into the valley like a small water fall. Back in Altura they told me there was no place to go, the roads were closed.

I decided to head back towards Highway 61 and hopefully go north to Wabasha and then cross over and travel down the Wisconsin side of the Mississippi River to LaCrosse. A stop again in Rollingstone confirmed, though, that a small road, Winona County 25, was still open. Steep and winding it had not yet been flooded and following it I could make it south to Interstate 90 and then east to LaCrosse. My car, which whatever flaws it may have is a champion in foul weather, climbed the winding route out of the coulee to the top of the bluff. Police in Lewiston just north of the Interstate guided us through a a road still under construction and then on to the highway.

Traveling along the Interstate through the rain and fog I could see the trees in the ditch. Trees have this amazing ability to cling to the sides of bluffs at times sticking out nearly horizontally. But the constant rain had loosened their grip on the thin soil and once loosened gravity did its worked and took them, and any stone they held in place, to the side of the road. They really mean it when they put "Beware of fallen rock" signs on this stretch of the road.

Arriving in LaCrosse behind schedule I discovered the power was out, but the people still came and we served the Liturgy "old school" just candles and no way to heat the water. The fervor of faith was in our hearts. With Liturgy completed I returned on the Wisconsin side crossing over to Wabasha in Minnesota and on to home. For my part all was well but at least four people had died, washed away in their cars.

And its still raining.

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