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Can the rain make a manhole cover blow off and spray water everywhere? Yes! And it happened today (September 24, 2020) in Southwest Rochester, Minnesota. Scroll down for the video.

It began this morning with over three and a half inches of rain in some parts of Rochester. A coworker came in saying the manhole on 6th Street and 2nd Avenue SW was blown off and water was coming out of it. I ran down there and did a Facebook live video...

A Rochester Public Works Department (RPWD) truck had already arrived and was blocking the open hole for safety. A few minutes later, another RPWD truck showed up and a city employee moved the cover back on. During the live video there were questions you had, so I reached out to the city to ask a few questions of Megan Moeller, Communications Coordinator for the RPWD

James Rabe - I didn't get to see the manhole come off...can it really blow off like people described?

Megan Moeller - Very hard rains over a very short period of time (like we just experienced) produce a very large volume of water running through the storm sewers. There is just so much water that it forces the lids off the manholes off, allowing some stormwater to escape from the now uncovered manhole.

JR - Why did the first Public Works truck just sit there? Why the delay in replacing the cover until a second truck arrived?

MM - The delay was so the Sewer Crew could inspect the manhole to make sure the casting wasn’t lifted off or there wasn’t any damage done to the structure. There are different styles of lids…newer ones sort of twist and lock on…so they wanted the Sewer Crew to insure the lid was correctly put back into place.

Thank you Rochester Public Works Department for keeping us safe!

Listen to James Rabe and Jessica Williams Weekday from 6 - 10 AM on Y-105 FM

Now that we've learned about how rain, manhole covers, and 3.5 inches of rain works, how 'bout some more Minneosta knowledge?

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