MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – From the top of the state, to the bottom, Emergency Management Director Kris Eide has seen firsthand the damage the flood has caused.
“We thought we’d dodged a bullet,” Eide said.
Eide was referring to the fact that floods usually happen in the spring and not summer. She said while the work of previous sandbagging has taken its toll, there is still more work to be done.
“We are looking at the northern border where they are still sandbagging after two weeks,” Eide said.
She said it helps to have the Governor visit.
“They really like it when the Governor cares enough to visit,” she said.
She said the farther people are from St. Paul, Minn. they fear they will be forgotten, so it really makes a difference when Gov. Dayton travels to the far reaches of the state.
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Gov. Mark Dayton made the rounds of more Minnesota cities along flood-swollen rivers Tuesday to meet with emergency managers and local elected officials.
Delano City Administrator Phil Kern told the governor a conservative estimate of damage from the Crow River is already at $250,000, about 10 percent of the city’s budget.
Dayton’s itinerary also included stops in Chaska and Belle Plaine on the Minnesota River, and Mendota on the Mississippi River. His flood travels last week included visits to Luverne in the southwest corner of the state and International Falls on the northern border. He planned to head north again Wednesday to Warroad, where Lake of the Woods is rising due to water coming down the Rainy River.
Rivers and lakes across much of Minnesota are swollen from heavy rains this month. The flooding has blocked roads and bridges, caused mudslides, flooded basements and ruined crops.
Dayton told officials in Delano he “wouldn’t be surprised” if the state’s new $3 million disaster assistance fund runs out, but said the waters must recede so damage can be assessed before he decides on whether to call a special legislative season to allocate more money.
The governor said Monday that he hopes to ask President Barack Obama for federal help when he visits Minnesota on Thursday.
The Mississippi River was about 5 feet above flood stage in St. Paul on Tuesday with a crest of about 6½ feet above flood stage projected for Thursday, which would be its highest level since 2001, according to National Weather Service data. The Minnesota River was about 15 feet above flood stage at with a crest of about a half-foot higher projected for Thursday. The Crow River was near a crest about 4½ feet above flood stage in Delano. However, the Minnesota River was falling at Mankato, where it crested Monday around 4 feet above flood stage.
Those figures are all well below record levels, but the water has been high enough to close some important commuter roads and bridges in the Twin Cities suburbs and force several communities to take steps to limit the damage.
St. Paul for example, filed papers with the state declaring a state of emergency on Monday as it tries to recoup some of the around $1.7 million it has spent on flood protection efforts.
“It is a manageable weather event, based on current river crest forecasts, but financial damages to the city are rising,” said Tonya Tennessen, spokeswoman for Mayor Chris Coleman.
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