At least two people have died following catastrophic flooding in the Midwest and a Minnesota dam is at risk of collapse.


At least two people have died after violent storms and major flooding hit the Midwest, authorities say, and a dam built in southern Minnesota in the early 1900s is at risk of collapse.

Rapidan Dam near Mankato was in an “imminent failure condition,” Blue Earth County government announced in a Facebook post Monday.

“We do not know if it will fail entirely or if it will remain in place, however, we have determined that it is necessary to issue this notification to inform downstream residents and the appropriate regulatory and other local agencies” , the county said.

The dam — which was in a “state of disrepair,” according to a 2021 study — was still standing as of Tuesday afternoon, and the county said there were currently no plans for a mass evacuation.

At a news conference, Gov. Tim Walz cautioned, “We’re not out of the woods yet. »

Some communities have not reached peak water levels, he said.

View this interactive content on

Water flow peaked Monday and decreased slightly Tuesday, according to a news release from Blue Earth County emergency management officials. Authorities continue to monitor the dam.

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

“It will happen. We don’t know when, but it will be inevitable that the house will disappear,” Barnes told KARE.

The Dam Store, known for its homemade pies, has been in business since 1910 and has been owned by the Barnes family since 1972.

“It’s our life too. It’s our business; it’s our livelihood. This is it for us,” Barnes told KARE. “There’s no stopping it. He will go wherever he wants. He’ll take what he wants. And everyone prays that it doesn’t take The Dam Store.

At Tuesday’s news conference, Minnesota Department of Agriculture Commissioner Thom Petersen highlighted farmers’ concerns. Even though crops don’t appear damaged from a road perspective, Petersen said, aerial views show “the widespread challenges our farmers are facing.”

Mark Vancleave/AP

Rapidan Dam is in a state of disrepair, according to a 2021 study by the county.

Walz said the town of Waterville, in neighboring Le Sueur County, also suffered a “certainly dramatic” impact from flooding, with dozens of homes flooded up to the second floor.

More than 40 National Guard troops have been deployed to Waterville’s pump stations to ensure they operate around the clock, protecting critical infrastructure and homes, said Minnesota National Guard Maj. Gen. Shawn Manke, during the press conference.

Severe flooding ravaged the Midwest for several days, killing at least two people. A man in his 60s died Saturday in Clay County, Iowa, while trying to wade through fast-moving floodwaters, according to a spokesperson for the county sheriff’s office. The same day, an 87-year-old man died in a flood-related crash in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, according to the state Highway Patrol.

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

A levee failure Tuesday morning on the Little Sioux River 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 announced in a Facebook post Tuesday morning, noting that water had breached the levee in several locations .

Authorities reported the levee breach just south of the town of Smithland around 5 a.m. Tuesday, the National Weather Service said.

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

About 30 miles to the north, significant flooding has caused the town of Correctionville to be closed to non-residents, according to Woodbury County Emergency Management.

Farther north in Sioux City, the Big Sioux River crested at 45 feet, or 7.3 feet above historic levels, prompting homes along the river to be evacuated Monday, officials said. responsible. Water rescue efforts continued Tuesday afternoon, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem said.

The governor said one neighborhood in North Sioux City — McCook Lake — was in a “very dangerous situation” with residents trying to re-enter the area.

“Entire houses fell” into Lake McCook, separated from Big Sioux River by Interstate 29, Noem said. The neighborhood has uprooted trees, live power lines crossing roads and 100-foot drops in elevation where roads were washed away, along with other debris, the governor said.

Officials don’t expect water levels to rise further, Noem said, but she urged residents to stay away from the area as water levels “slowly” drop.

“It won’t be safe for several days,” Noem said. “If there is water, don’t drive across it. If there is a barricade, do not go around it.

In Minnesota, Blue Earth County officials were first informed Sunday of “debris accumulation” at Rapidan Dam. Workers from Blue Earth County Public Works, the Emergency Management Agency and the Sheriff’s Office are actively monitoring the dam, according to the Facebook post.

The Blue Earth River bypassed the west side of the dam, emergency management said, carrying damaging debris and causing power outages.

In a Monday evening update, the county noted that although there was a “partial failure on the west abutment,” the “dam is still intact.”

Aaron Lavinsky/Star Tribune/AP

The Rapidan Dam is in danger of collapsing, county officials say, although no mass evacuations are planned at this time.

“Our agencies are in close contact with Blue Earth County and other local officials regarding Rapidan Dam near Mankato,” Governor Walz said in a statement. statement Monday. “Emergency management is on the ground and acting quickly to keep Minnesotans safe as the situation evolves.”

The dam, completed in 1910, is owned by the county and is capable of producing 6 million watts of hydroelectric power. It’s about 70 miles southwest of Minneapolis.

Dams can fail for a number of reasons, including overtopping due to flooding and structural failure, according to FEMA.

A 2021 report from Blue Earth County noted that regular flooding over the years, as well as the “toll of time,” caused significant damage to the dam. The report identifies two solutions: repair or remove the dam. The county emphasized that both options carry significant costs.

News Source :
Gn usa

Back to top button