STORM DAMAGE: Emergency Operations Center activated - KMSP-TV

STORM DAMAGE: Emergency Operations Center activated

Posted: Updated:
Gov. Mark Dayton thanks volunteers in International Falls for filling sandbags. Gov. Mark Dayton thanks volunteers in International Falls for filling sandbags.
ST. PAUL, Minn. (KMSP) -

The Department of Public Safety Homeland Security and Emergency Management division (HSEM) is working with community leaders and emergency managers in areas damaged by severe storms.

Currently, the State Emergency Operations Center is active at level III, which means HSEM staff are required to meet with officials from various state agencies in order to determine whether state resources will be needed to assist in storm damage recovery efforts. As of Tuesday afternoon, however, no local officials had made any such requests. Kris Eide, the state's emergency management director, said that if damage totals approach $7.3 million statewide, officials will request a presidential disaster declaration.

Meanwhile, Gov. Mark Dayton traveled to the International Falls area in northern Minnesota on Tuesday to meet with officials who have spent days of hard work trying to hold back the slow rise of both Rainy River and Rainy Lake.


So far, volunteers and government crews have put thousands of sandbags in place to protect the homes, cabins, resorts and other buildings along the Minnesota border with Ontario.

After stopping at a fire station in the small town of Loman, Dayton had to be ferried by truck across about 200 yards of water measuring 2 feet in depth. The fire station itself is in a low-lying area and is currently protected by a sandbag dike that stands 4 feet high.

Rainy Lake has risen nearly 2 feet over the past few weeks, but the Rainy River has risen by about 10 feet since the start of June alone, surpassing a record level set in the 1950s. The flooding has been attributed to a late melt of unusually heavy winter snow and recent heavy rains.


At the end of the week, Dayton will travel to the state's opposite end to survey more damage caused by flooding after a 77-year-old dam spillway broke in the town of Luverne following a 4-inch rainfall over the weekend.

MORE: Luverne, Minn., flood in photographs

Flood damage in the far southwest corner of the state has left roads -- including Interstate 90 -- blocked by floodwaters. One woman had to be rescued after rapidly rising floodwater started filling her car near the South Dakota border. Firefighters from Luverne helped tie a rope to a state trooper so he could rescue her just before her car was swept away into a ditch.

MORE: Hero trooper rescues woman from flood-swept car

Low-lying farmlands are still covered in standing water, and Luverne Fire Chief David Van Batavia told the Star Tribune that one farmer had to be rescued twice. The man and his son were checking on their cattle near Kenneth, Minn., and had to climb a tree in order to stay above the advancing water. Rescuers reached them by boat, but the farmer later had to be rescued after his tractor was swept off the road.


This is the latest information reported to the State Emergency Operations Center:

Metro Area

City of St Paul

• An emergency declaration has been forwarded to Mayor Chris Coleman
• The Mississippi River is expected to rise above 15 feet in St. Paul. If it does, additional erosion is expected along Water Street.

Southeast Minnesota

Blue Earth County

• Residents and officials are dealing with downed power lines and trees.
• Power has been restored in most locations except for Beauford.

Faribault County

• Heavy wind damage can be seen across the county, including downed trees and personal property that was blown away -- including grills and trampolines.
• Street flooding left some buildings looking like they were lifted off their foundations.

Freeborn County

• Sheds, bins and other structures were damaged in the northwest part of county.
• The cities of Alden, Emmons and Conger are pumping to protect water treatment and private wells.

Steele County

• All creeks, streams and rivers are at capacity in Owatonna. More rain could send them over their banks.

Southwest Minnesota

Martin County

• Damage assessment is under way.

Sibley County

• Damage assessment is in progress, particularly in the city of Arlington.

Pipestone County

• Declaration of emergency signed.

Northern Minnesota

Koochiching County

• The sheriff, county commissioners and the department heads met to assemble county-based damage assessment teams.
• Lake of the Woods and Koochiching counties ordered more sandbags this morning.
• Rainy Lake is predicted to crest in mid-July.

St. Louis County

• The US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) delivered 16,000 sandbags to Kabetogama.

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