Flood Notes: Longtime resident waits it out on Knife River
By: News Tribune staff, Duluth News Tribune
Longtime resident waits it out on Knife River
Oden Alreck, 83, rode out the flood in Knife River with his wife, Joanne, despite offers of rescue.
His home sits on the edge of what had become a roiling Knife River by Wednesday morning. The water was rising in his basement, eventually reaching the ceiling.
“I’ve been here 62 years and it’s the worst I’ve ever seen,” he said Thursday afternoon, looking calm and sitting between a workshop with floors caked with mud and a garage slipped off its foundation.
Despite what he called heroic efforts by the Lake County Search and Rescue squad to reach his home by boat at 3:30 a.m. Wednesday, Alreck wasn’t going anywhere.
His wife had taken a sleeping pill and he didn’t want to wake her.
“I had to wait the situation out,” he said.
He knew his wife wouldn’t like getting rousted and told to get into a boat.
“She’d be scared,” he said.
He told the rescuers that they would stay and assured them that the water was actually receding a bit.
The team trusted Alrick’s instincts and let him stay.
“The guys did a beautiful job to get to us,” he was quick to say. In the end, as the river dropped Thursday, the couple was OK.
“This house is big and heavy,” Alrick said.
Commuting by kayak
Aimee Lindberg’s commute to work these days begins on a kayak.
Aimee and her husband, Mike, and their three children live on Bowman Lake, a 44-acre widening contiguous with the Cloquet River north of Duluth. When the river’s rising waters covered about 1,000 feet of the East Bowman Lake Road on Wednesday, Mike got the kayak out.
Now, he shuttles Aimee and the kids — one at a time —down the road, which is flooded at least 4 feet deep, he said. Their pickup is on the other side. Mike tried using a four-wheeler in the beginning, but the water rose too high. That’s when the kayaking began. He’s hoping to get an old 14-foot rowboat out so he can get all of the family members across the high water in one trip.
A total of five families on Bowman Lake are affected by the road closure, he said.
“I hope it’s crested,” he said of the high water. “It is what it is. It’s Mother Nature. It could be worse.”