Northeast Minnesota cleans up from flooding, no deaths reportedMinnesota Weather
-- Despite the worst flooding people have seen in their lifetimes, there have been no deaths or serious injuries reported in northeastern Minnesota.
DULUTH -- A new day dawns in Duluth and northeastern Minnesota. After what some have called "Century Flooding," water levels are still dangerously high across the Northland.
More than 10-inches of rain fell in recent days, causing massive flooding from rivers and streams that empty into Lake Superior. The governor declared a State Of Emergency on Wednesday and authorized the National Guard to help in flood-fighting and evacuation efforts. The Red Cross is running a shelter for evacuees at the First United Methodist Church, otherwise known as the "Copper Top Church" on the hill overlooking the city.
Duluth police say it's miraculous that a eight-year-old boy suffered only a minor cut to his head Wednesday afternoon when was swept through a culvert nearly a mile by raging floodwaters. In another incident, Duluth authorities say the owner of a dog and others were pulled from Tischer Creek while trying to rescue the animal. The dog was swept nearly 100 yards downstream and was rescued by others. After these, and other incidents where people almost got swept away by strong currents, the city of Duluth is again warning residents to stay away froms treams, culverts and standing water.
Many roads, including portions of Interstate-35 and Highway-61 along the North Shore, are still closed because of high water and erosion. Southwest of Duluth, up to two-feet of water has settled in over the center portion of the city of Carlton. The Carlton County sheriff advises no travel for now as conditions continue to deteriorate. The National Weather Service says scattered thunderstorms are still possible early today.
Jay Cooke and Savanna Portage State Parks in northeast Minnesota remain closed through this weekend due to severe flooding, and the Willard Munger State Trail is closed from Carlton to Duluth. Cheri Zeppelin with the DNR says conditions are still changing and crews are out assessing damage. Zeppelin says state parks on the North Shore are open but there may be trail closures or access problems in some areas. She advises campers to remain aware of water levels and notes that some public accesses and docks may be under water.
Despite the worst flooding people have seen in their lifetimes, there have been no deaths or serious injuries reported in northeastern Minnesota.
However, flooding at the Lake Superior Zoo led to the drowning deaths yesterday of at least eleven animals. A polar bear and two seals were caught up in the floodwaters and escaped their enclosures for a time. The bear was tranquilized on site at the zoo and the seals recovered nearby.
Minnesota Emergency Management Director Kris Eide says they're sending up a team to take an initial look at damage to roadways and some of the public infrastructure. She says they'll then be able to "determine whether or not it will meet our threshold in order to have Governor Dayton request a presidential declaration." The governor declared a State Of Emergency on Wednesday and authorized the National Guard to help in flood-fighting and evacuation efforts.
It's not the usual kind of flooding that's washing over the North Shore of Minnesota. As Duluth Mayor Don Ness explains, it's more about raging rivers and trout streams emptying into Lake Superior than rivers overflowing their banks.He says, as a result, the damage to the city's infrastructure is signficant and could take weeks or longer to total up. Duluth Police advise people not to drive or wade across roads with standing water, which could be covering a sinkhole, unstable road or debris.
You can hear the roar around the Twin Ports. The St. Louis River continues to pour into Lake Superior at a record volume, more than six-feet over flood stage. The river is cresting at Scanlon now but will remain dangerous over the next few days. Along the Mississippi River at Aitkin, floodwaters are rising and are approaching major flood stage. Levels are also moving up quickly near Brainerd and Fort Ripley -- and minor flooding is now reported on various forks of the Crow River in south-central Minnesota.
People around Duluth aren't the only ones being told stay away from the high water. The Army Corps of Engineers warns that local communities in northern Minnesota need to keep an eye on floodwaters along the Mississippi River, along with high levels on large lakes. Big Sandy and Pokegama lakes, for example, are on their way up and could rise another two- to three-feet in the coming days.