Gov. Walz declares peacetime emergency to prepare for flooding

Gov. Tim Walz on Wednesday declared a peacetime emergency and activated the Minnesota National Guard to assist communities at high risk of flooding.

The governor signed an emergency executive order to provide immediate aid to areas that are expected to be hit hardest by rising river levels from spring snowmelt.

Historically high river levels and soil moisture persisted through the winter, and rivers are already at flood stage in many places, according to the executive order.

The Red River Valley was one area of particular concern due to a snowstorm that dropped several inches of snow in the region on Saturday. According to the executive order, that storm pushed some rivers in the area to major flood stage.

The sheriff in Marshall County, which lies along the Red River in northwest Minnesota, requested the assistance of the Minnesota National Guard to help monitor dikes and flood protection systems and to prepare potential rescue and evacuation operations in the town of Oslo, Minnesota.