Four die in Minnesota flooding


Severe weather deluged parts of the Midwest overnight, washing away bridges and roadways, killing four people in southeastern Minnesota, authorities confirmed today.

The floodwaters caught two people in their vehicle near Stockton and two more in a vehicle near Witoka, said Bob Reinert, the Winona County Administrator and spokesman for the county's emergency operations center. Authorities initially said a fifth person had died but Reinert said that fatality could not be confirmed.

"They apparently just drove off the edge of the pavement, and with the floodwaters just were unable to get out of the vehicle," he said.

Up to 12 inches of rain in southwestern Wisconsin triggered a mudslide that pushed a house onto state Highway 35 in Vernon County, said State Emergency Management spokeswoman Lori Getter. There are no reports of injuries.

Numerous roads and bridges were washed out and closed on Sunday in both states, prompting the evacuation of several towns, officials said.

In Wisconsin, Downtown Gays Mills was evacuated with residents taken to the fire station, and a state of emergency was in effect there.

"In our situation we've evacuated the city of Stockton, which is probably the hardest hit," Reinert said in Minnesota. Other small cities were also evacuated as well as portions of Winona, he said.