It may be too late to help with tonight's , but a local organization is offering classes to help you beat the next deluge. The trick, they say, is to use your garden to your advantage.
Metro Blooms, a Minneapolis-based nonprofit, has made it their mission to educate the Twin Cities about the benefits of rain gardens. These unique constructions help trap the kind of runoff that could cause flash floods tonight. Instead of pouring off your lawn and overstuffing storm drains, the rainwater slowly percolates into the ground over a 24 to 48 hour period. On top of that, the garden's plants also filter out pollutants like fertilizers, herbicides, leaf litter, grass clippings and pet waste that get mixed in as the water moves across your lawn.
The gardens work because the native perennial plants used tend to have deep root systems. Every year, according to Metro Blooms, these plants shed the dead portions of their root systems and leave behind empty channels in the soil that act as "pipes" to help funnel water deeper into the ground. The whole process mimics natural systems that have filtered groundwater in Minnesota for aeons.