Southern Minnesota is floating away [UPDATE]

It's wet in Minneapolis. But it's wetter down south.

It's wet in Minneapolis. But it's wetter down south.

Update: Gov. Tim Pawlenty has activated the National Guard. Details after the jump.

Update: An island in Wisconsin is now floating away. Video after the jump.

We here in the Twin Cities are grousing about another day of rain slowing our commutes and soaking us on the way to the coffee shop, but we've got it easy compared to folks further south.

Homes have been evacuated in Owatonna. More than 8 inches of rain fell on Minnesota Lake, and 7 inches fell on Faribault. The sewers are backing up in Jackson and Cottonwood, and you can't drive into Pipestone right now because all the roads are underwater.


Pity the poor farmers, too. This is the start of harvest season, and a lot of them can't even get into the fields to see the damage. The U's Extension service predicts the sodden mess is really going to stress farmers out.

It's all part of an unusually wet summer, according to the U's Climatology Working Group. And Paul Douglas predicts it's going to get worse before the end of the day.

Update: Gov. Tim Pawlenty has declared a state of emergency in 35 southern Minnesota counties and activated the National Guard to provide emergency relief services.

Update: We're not sure how an island can actually uproot itself and float down a river, one one in Wisconsin on the Chippewa River has managed to do just that as the torrential rains slowly move eastward. This video shows it butting up against the North Crossing bridge in Eau Claire.

Meanwhile, volunteers are filling sandbags in Zumbrota, Wanamingo, Pine Island and Mantorville. And in Arcadia, Wis., 100 miles southeast of Minneapolis, about 1,500 residents are being urged to evacuate their homes for higher ground.

Our advice: Take a deep breath if you can, and let the windshield wipers in this clip lull you into a trance as the music of Georges Bizet wells in the background: