March 22, 2019 06:40 PM
Communities around the state continue to deal with the impact of spring flooding.
The Minnesota Department of Public Safety's Homeland Security and Emergency Management Division states 29 of Minnesota's 87 counties are currently dealing with some sort of flooding or ice jams.
Ten of those counties - Big Stone, Cottonwood, Jackson, Martin, Nobles, Norman, Rock, Traverse, Wilkin and Yellow Medicine - have declared local emergencies.
The division's online spring flooding report stated the American Red Cross has been reaching out to residents of Garden City in Blue Earth County who have been affected by flooding due to ice jams.
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In the metro area, the Minnesota Department of Transportation announced Friday that the northbound ramps to Interstate 35W at Black Dog Road in Burnsville would close at 8 p.m. Sunday due to flooding on the Minnesota River, though a release said the ramps could close earlier if conditions warrant.
The City of Burnsville announced that Minnesota Riverfront Park and the adjacent Minnesota River Greenway Trail are also closed due to flooding. The portion of the trail impacted extends from the park to the DNR boat landing under the Cedar Avenue bridge.
Carver County announced Vega Avenue and 94th Street in Camden Township is closed between Highways 135 and 33, and 86th Street and Vega Avenue is closed between Highways 33 and 32.
The Highway 41 river crossing in Chaska closed Thursday, meaning the closest alternative crossing is Highway 101, which crosses the river between Chanhassen and Shakopee.
Huge chunks of ice were crashing into the Highway 41 bridge Friday. Many were walking down to the river to see how high the water had gotten.
"We worry about people who live around here," said Kathleen Baldrica, who was walking her dog Copper with her husband Dave Friday. "You know, this is early in the stage yet."
"We prepare for the worst and hope for the best - that's what we do," added Deb Paige, the commander of the Carver County's newly established emergency operations center.
The impact of flooding was changing hour by hour. Staffers at the center were marking all the closed roads on a map. The center is poised to be fully activated at any moment, with key departments on standby to efficiently respond to all angles of any emergency.
"We're preparing and we're preparing to respond and making sure we are monitoring everything," Paige said. "We are hearing some homes are already being impacted, and a lot of people who have never flooded before are flooding in their lower levels now."
The Red Cross is also offering free cleanup kits to those impacted by flooding. The kits can be picked up at the county building on East Fourth Street in Chaska.
Meanwhile, to the north, the City of Moorhead announced Friday it has joined neighboring Fargo, North Dakota, in declaring a flood emergency along the Red River, which separates the two cities.
City officials in St. Paul have already declared a local flood emergency, a procedural declaration that is part of the city's flood response plan. According to a release, it allows St. Paul Emergency Management to request and coordinate aid and resources from surrounding jurisdictions - including the Ramsey County Division of Emergency Management, Homeland Security and the State of Minnesota.
The Mississippi River is expected to reach minor flood stage there by Sunday.
The declaration allows city departments to quickly mobilize resources and begin immediate purchasing and contracting.
Updated: March 22, 2019 06:40 PM
Created: March 22, 2019 02:52 PM
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