Southern Minnesota town calling for help in wake of heavy flooding

In the small town of Comfrey in southern Minnesota, front yards are piled with personal belongings and carpets in buildings have been ripped out.

Less than two weeks ago, the town had about a foot of rain, submerging roads, parks, and basements in water. 

“It’s moving along. The water went down so quickly, which is great,” said Comfrey Mayor Gary Richter. “The city brings in roll-off dumpsters, and they’ve been filling in quickly.”

Richter said the heavy downpour overtook the current mitigation system. The city plans to meet with engineers to discuss next steps. A mitigation project means more resources, something Richter is fighting to get. 

“We don’t have the poll or the power, but we are here,” he said. 

Small towns typically don’t have grant writers or experience, and Richter believes the small guys are often forgotten. 

“I’m going to put pressure on somebody we have to. If people care, if they care, we have to,” he said. 

Brown County Emergency Manager Shawn Stoermann told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS the county currently has $200,000 of damages to infrastructure, mainly with county roads and ditches. However, in terms of the city of Comfrey, there is minimal damage. 

“Each township or city, whatever damages they have or what they’re eligible to claim, the State will reimburse 75%,” Stoermann explained. 

Stoermann said they are currently waiting to see if they’ll get state assistance. In terms of individuals with damaged basements, Stoermann said they are on their own.

“We always encourage homeowners to look into getting flood insurance and or sewer backup insurance through their insurance companies,” Stoermann said.