Gov. Mark Dayton tours Twin Cities flood sites - KMSP-TV

MINNESOTA FLOODING: Peacetime state of emergency extended

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DELANO, Minn. (KMSP) -

One day after that he extended the peacetime state of emergency in the state, Gov. Mark Dayton met with emergency management crews around the Twin Cities grappling with flood damage, saying he believes the state will more than exceed the threshold for federal disaster relief funding; however, he's still waiting for damage numbers to come in.


City of Delano officials told Gov. Dayton that the city has already spent 10 percent of its annual budget on flooding in the past week, while county officials added costs will exceed $7 million in food damage with the 30 roads that are closed. Most of the flood damage so far has been to public parks and infrastructure, and officials say it's "a guessing game" when it comes to how much the final tally will be. 

"When we go through river events like this we end up expending more than 10 percent of an annual budget simply on just holding back the flood waters and trying to avoid damages to private property and public property," Delano City Administrator Phil Kern explained.

It appears the Crow River crested overnight at 21 feet. Mayor Dale Graunke added earthen levees have held so far against the river and the water is starting to drop.

STORIFY: Minnesota River rising; Crow River receding

Now, he hopes it will continue to recede so the city can continue with its plans to reopen the bridge and repave Main Street before the Fourth of July parade.

Dayton said most communities will qualify for either state or federal disaster relief for flooding and he is prepared to hold a special legislative session to cover any gaps in federal disaster relief.  The governor offered his personal phone number to local leaders urging them to call if they need help with the damage.

"We're more than Democrats or Republicans, we're Minnesotans first," Dayton said.

Gina Coburn, owner of Three Crows Cafe, has seen enough. Delano erected a temporary flood wall on Friday but Coburn says her business can't be protected. She has seven pumps going, costing about $1,400 per day to rent and fill with fuel.


Although it may seem ironic, Gov. Dayton attended the groundbreaking of a flood mitigation project that includes a new four-lane Highway 101 bridge spanning the flood plain between the existing Highway 101 Minnesota River Bridge in Shakopee and County Road 61 in Chanhassen. The new bridge will minimize transportation disruptions when the Minnesota River reaches flood stage, such as the standing water that is expected to keep the roadway closed for some time.

VINE: Highway 101 project groundbreaking

Dayton himself helped build levees along the highway during the historic flood of 1965. He was a high school senior at the time.

"So, I got on a bus and came down here and was shoveling dirt," Dayton recalled. "I can't remember if we had sandbags back then or what, but we were hauling stuff around."

The new, $50-million span should take cars over the floodplain, instead of through it. Construction is expected to finish in the fall of 2015


Dayton and Minnesota Department of Public Safety commissioner Mona Dohman heard from residents in Scott County about flooding conditions that could last for the next two months. Dayton explained to residents that he needs a total of $7.3 million in public flood damage to apply for federal disaster relief -- he believes the state will more than exceed that threshold.


Minnesota's Executive Council, including Gov. Mark Dayton, agreed that the widespread flooding affecting 35 counties across the state required a 30-day extension of the peacetime state of emergency declared on June 19.

PDF: Extending the Peacetime Emergency

The executive order establishing the peacetime emergency allows the state to provide resources and use state agencies in disaster response areas. This past legislative session, lawmakers also passed a bill that set aside $3 million for disaster relief to help pay for damages when the federal government won't step in.


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