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Dave Olson, Published June 26 2013

Torrential rain takes toll on Wolverton roads, basements

WOLVERTON, Minn. – The more than 8 inches of rain that washed over Wolverton on Tuesday night quickly drained away Wednesday morning, but they took with them large chunks of the town’s street system.

“We have four roads that have been taken out of commission,” Mayor Nancy Olthoff said Wednesday morning, shortly after the City Council declared a state of emergency.

With the water draining away, the step was largely procedural, intended to position Wolverton, population 142, for possible federal reimbursement of its cleanup costs, Olthoff said.

The National Weather Service said Wolverton received 8.2 inches of rain, while surrounding areas got up to 9 inches.

The rain turned a creek in town into a broiling torrent that flooded the basement of at least one home with 4 feet of water, Olthoff said.

She said washed-out roads left about 40 residents of one southside neighborhood unable to leave town using their vehicles.

Olthoff said road repairs got underway before noon Wednesday and residents of the neighborhood were able to leave by early afternoon.

Lisa Miller, secretary at Faith Lutheran Church, said the church had to deal with about 3 inches of water in the lower level of the building Wednesday morning. With the help of a commercial restoration company, it was mostly cleaned up by early afternoon.

She said church president Bev Israelson began calling church members about 1 a.m. Wednesday and the workers moved what items they could to higher levels of the building.

With that action and the quick cleanup, Miller said the church should be OK.

“I think we caught it in time,” she said.

Olthoff said the Red Cross has provided the city with cleanup kits that are available at the city fire hall.

Wolverton is located about halfway between Fargo-Moorhead and Wahpeton-Breckenridge in Wilkin County.

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Readers can reach Forum reporter Dave Olson at (701) 241-5555