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UPDATE: Olmsted Sheriff: Some cows safe after being swept away in Zumbro River

(UPDATE, KARE) BYRON, MN — Torrential rains overnight in southeastern Minnesota have pushed rivers out of their banks, made roads impassable and even swept away part of one farmer’s cattle herd.

A video posted on Facebook by Donny Ehlenfeldt captured the scene near Byron as the swollen Zumbro River carried dozens of cows downstream to an uncertain fate. You could see the animals struggling to keep their heads above the rushing water.

Olmsted County deputies received a report early this morning of 30 to 40 head of cattle missing from the farm. It now appears that number is closer to 50.

Olmsted County Sheriff Kevin Torgerson says some of the cattle have been located, but it’s going to take some time for authorities to access them due to flooding. Witnesses told KARE 11 about half of the cows are safe.

Pine Island authorities told residents living in the Lillie Lane neighborhood to evacuate around noon as the south branch of the Zumbro was rising so quickly, and they were in danger of being flooded out. US 52 was closed in both directions between US 63 and 500th Street, near Pine Island, according to MnDOT. They said the closure would last until about 6 a.m. Sunday.

In the city of Kasson, homes, businesses and public spaces were completely flooded. Kasson firefighters set up their trucks to block several intersections and prevent motorists from driving through standing water, including at Highway 14 and County Road 57.

“We’ve got the trucks and barriers set up to help them stay out of the flooded roads,” explained Fire Chief Joe Fitch. “We don’t want them driving in the flooded areas and they end up getting stuck and different things like that. It’s a frustration because it’s a change in their morning routine.”

Fitch shared that about half a dozen people had to be evacuated from an apartment building, but there were no injuries related to the flooding.

A number of roads in areas of Olmsted County were overcome by the floodwaters. Deputies blocked off roads they could get to, but warn everyone not to drive through water because it doesn’t take much to float a vehicle and sweep occupants into a dangerous situation.

BYRON, Minn. (AP) — About 40 cattle were swept away from their pasture in southern Minnesota as heavy rainfall caused the Zumbro River to swell.

Olmsted County Sheriff Kevin Torgerson says some of the cattle have been located, but it’s going to take some time for authorities to access them due to flooding. Some cattle were still unaccounted for as of noon Friday.

Torgerson says the incident happened near Byron. Video posted online shows several cows being swiftly pushed downriver in the current.

National Weather Service records show the Rochester International Airport saw about 5 inches of rain during a six-hour period early Friday. Dodge County, to the west, also saw overnight thunderstorms and rain, contributing to flooding of the Zumbro River.

Several roads in the area were covered with water Friday morning and were closed.

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Associated Press

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