PRAIRIE LAKE - It started raining as my wife Serra, daughter Serena (17 1/2 months old) and I arrived Sunday evening at the Muscatello family's lake cabin in St. Louis County on a peninsula on Prairie Lake.
The rain stopped except for a few showers Monday morning, and then Monday overnight the skies opened up with a deluge. The rain did not stop until Wednesday evening.
What was supposed to be a nice, little family vacation with my parents and my two sisters and their families turned in to fight to save the dock, boat and pontoon as the lake rose about 25 feet over the span of three days.
Steve Muscatello’s nephew, Jacob Brown, stands on the new shoreline at the Muscatello family cabin on Prairie Lake in St. Louis County, which is 25 miles northwest of Interstate 35 or about halfway between the towns of Cromwell and Floodwood. Normally the shoreline is about 2 feet in front of the boathouse (red building on the left). The water rose about 25 feet in three days.
Staff photo by Steve Muscatello
We spent a large amount of time trying to stay dry and calling other people with cabins on the lake to inform them of the status of their docks and boats.
Jumping into a freezing-cold, flooded lake to pull the pontoon ever closer to the deck on the front of the cabin was a reoccurring struggle during those three days. Our boat filled with water and had to be bailed out. We got the boat out of the lake and put it on a trailer. We also helped others by pulling their boats to shore or assisting them in getting things out of the water.
The excessive rainfall filled the cabin's backyard and driveway. The yard is about 70 feet wide and about 160 feet long - big enough to park about eight cars and three campers. My nieces and nephews kayaked in the backyard and down the flooded road.
We attempted to leave the cabin on Wednesday but discovered that one road was completely washed out by a flooding Hasty Brook, which flows into Prairie Lake. And the other way to leave the cabin - St. Louis County Road 51 - was impassible due to flood waters from the lake.
We returned to the cabin for another day. What a way to spend our 9th wedding anniversary!
On Thursday, the family piled into my parents' SUV and followed my brother-in-law's vehicle down County Road 51. We left the "Up North" cabin, and returned to St. Paul. Our mid-sized sedan is parked on what we hope is high enough ground to avoid being affected by the flood waters.