Isolated Flood Problems Persist in NE Minn.
Isolated problems persisted Saturday in Duluth and the surrounding area from the bout of serious flash flooding a few days earlier, but for most who suffered flooding the focus had turned to cleaning up and surveying the wreckage.
In Duluth, where damage in the city alone is expected to exceed $100 million, standing water was still causing problems in two neighborhoods on the west side. Authorities had started letting evacuated residents back into the Fond du Lac neighborhood, but they had to pass through a police checkpoint, and some had to cross pools of water. Only those whose houses weren't seriously damaged were allowed to stay, said city spokeswoman Pakou Ly.
Residents in about 80 of that neighborhood's 200 homes were forced to leave. In the smaller West Skyline neighborhood, residents of 13 homes were still prevented from leaving Saturday, except by foot. But Ly said the neighborhood never lost electricity or running water, and a helicopter was available to respond to medical emergencies.
In most areas, both in Duluth and to the south, floodwaters were receding. Residents forced out on Wednesday and Thursday were returning in Moose Lake, Willow River, Scanlon and elsewhere.
City Administrator Mark Vahlsing said Moose Lake residents were holding a community meeting Saturday to talk about the next steps. About 120 homes and businesses were badly flooded in the town of about 2,800 people.
Officials with the Federal Emergency Management Administration are expected in Minnesota on Monday, and to be out in the region assessing damage soon after. Ly said in Duluth, teams of volunteers will be deployed starting Wednesday to help residents haul items out of flooded basements and remove debris from their yards.
While floodwaters are mostly receding, much of that water is finding its way into the Mississippi River, which is still rising, said Duluth-based National Weather Service meteorologist Dean Melde. That could cause spotty flooding in some low-lying areas along the river in the coming days, he said.
Duluth got a bit of rain Saturday morning, about a quarter-inch by noon. Isolated storms were forecast for later, but Melde said it didn't look like anything as serious as the heavy rains that caused the flooding. Starting Sunday, Melde said it was likely to stay dry at least into the middle of the week.
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