At least 2 dead in devastating Midwest floods and Minnesota dam at risk of collapse



CNN

At least two people have died after the severe storms Great flood A dam in southern Minnesota that was built in the early 1900s is in danger of failing, according to officials, hitting the Midwest.

The Rapidan Dam near Mankato is in “imminent failure,” the Blue Earth County government announced. A Monday Facebook post.

“We don’t know if this will be a complete failure or if it will continue, however, we determined it was necessary to issue this notice to advise downstream residents and the appropriate regulatory agencies and other local agencies,” the county said.

The dam — which was in “impaired condition” according to a 2021 study — was still standing Tuesday afternoon, and the county said there were no current plans for a mass evacuation.

During a news conference, Governor Tim Walls warned: “We’re not out of the woods yet.”

Some communities did not reach peak water levels, he said.

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According to a news release from Blue Earth County emergency management officials, flow rates peaked Monday and subsided slightly Tuesday. Officials are constantly monitoring the dam.

Flooding in Blue Earth County threatens resident Jenny Barnes’ family home and their nearby business, The Dam Store. CNN affiliate KARE reported.

“It will happen. We don’t know when, but going home will be inevitable,” Barnes told KARE.

Known for its homemade pies, the Embankment store has been in business since 1910 and has been owned by the Barnes family since 1972.

“It’s our life. It’s our business; it’s our livelihood. It’s everything to us,” Barnes told Carey. “There’s no stopping it. It’s going to go where it needs to go. It’s going to take whatever it takes. Everyone is praying that it doesn’t take the dam store.

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During a news conference Tuesday, Minnesota Department of Agriculture Commissioner Thom Peterson addressed farmers’ concerns. While the crops don’t appear to be damaged from a road perspective, Peterson said the aerials show “the widespread difficulties our farmers face.”

Mark VanCleave/AP

According to the 2021 District Survey, the Rapidan Dam is in a state of disrepair.

The town of Waterville in nearby Le Sueur County also saw an “absolutely dramatic” impact from the flooding, Walls said, with dozens of homes flooded up to the second floor.

More than 40 National Guard soldiers have been assigned to Waterville pump stations, ensuring they operate 24 hours a day and protect critical infrastructure and homes, Minnesota National Guard Maj. Gen. Shawn Manke said during a news conference.

Severe flooding has wreaked havoc across the Midwest for days, leaving at least two people dead. A man in his mid-70s in Clay County, Iowa, died Saturday while trying to cross fast-moving floodwaters, a spokesman for the county sheriff’s office said. On the same day, an 87-year-old man died in a flood-related crash in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, the State Highway Patrol said.

In Iowa, catastrophic flooding and severe storms prompted President Joe Biden to approve a disaster declaration in some areas, freeing up federal funds for relief efforts.

A levee failure on the Little Sioux River Tuesday morning prompted the evacuation of several Iowa communities.

The town of Rodney in northern Monona County has been evacuated and roads are closed to the public, the sheriff’s office said on Facebook. Mail By Tuesday morning, water had breached banks at several places.

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The National Weather Service said officials said it made landfall around 5 a.m. Tuesday south of Smithland.

A flash flood warning has been issued for Rodney, the nearby town of Smithland and other rural areas near the river, officials said.

About 30 miles to the north, significant flooding closed the town of Correctionville to nonresidents. Woodbury County Emergency Management.

Further north in Sioux City, the Big Sioux River crested at 45 feet, 7.3 feet above historic levels, prompting the evacuation of homes along the river Monday, officials said. South Dakota Gov. Christy Nome said water rescue efforts continued Tuesday afternoon.

The governor said one area in North Sioux City — Lake McCook — was in “extremely dangerous conditions” as residents tried to re-enter the area.

“Whole houses fell down” on Lake McCook, which is separated from the Big Sioux River by Interstate 29, Nome said. Trees were uprooted in the neighborhood, power lines across roads and down 100 feet in places where roads were washed away, among other debris, the governor said.

Officials do not expect water levels to rise further, but he urged residents to stay away from the area as water levels recede “slowly”.

“It won’t be safe for several days,” Nome said. “If there’s water, don’t drive through it. If there’s a dam, don’t drive around it.

In Minnesota, Blue Earth County officials were notified Sunday of “heaps piling up” at Rapidan Dam. Blue Earth County Public Works, Emergency Management Agency and Sheriff’s Office personnel are actively monitoring the dam, according to a Facebook post.

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The Blue Earth River has been cut off around the west side of the dam, with emergency management hauling away damaging debris and power outages.

In an update Monday evening, the county noted that “the dam is still intact,” despite “partial failure on the west side.”

Aaron Lavinsky/Star Tribune/AP

According to district officials, the Rapidan Dam is in danger of collapsing, and there are currently no plans for a mass evacuation.

“Our agencies are in close contact with Blue Earth County and other local authorities regarding the Rapidan Dam near Mankato,” Governor Walls said. Report Monday. “Emergency management is on the ground and working quickly to ensure the safety of Minnesotans as the situation develops.”

The existing dam Completed in 1910, owned by the district and capable of generating 6 million watts of hydropower. It is about 70 miles southwest of Minneapolis.

Dams can break for a number of reasons, including flooding and structural failure. FEMA.

A 2021 report From Blue Earth County, years of regular flooding have caused significant damage to the dam along with the “count of time.” The report identified two solutions: repair or remove the dam. Both options have significant costs, the county noted.

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