REGIONAL- Minnesota National Guard members will be joining the battle against continually rising lake levels in the region this weekend after Gov. Tim Walz authorized their deployment on Thursday. …
REGIONAL- Minnesota National Guard members will be joining the battle against continually rising lake levels in the region this weekend after Gov. Tim Walz authorized their deployment on Thursday. Forty-five soldiers of the Duluth-based 1st Battalion, 94th Cavalry Regiment are responding to a request for assistance in Northeast Minnesota. These Soldiers will be providing flood response in the Rainy River Basin in support of efforts by St. Louis and Koochiching County civil authorities.
The action comes as the National Weather Service now predicts flooding “may approach (the) all-time record high level” on Namakan Lake with the addition of up to 15 more inches of lake level rise by next Wednesday. Waters have already risen more than a half-foot this week at Crane Lake and Kabetogama Lake, increasing the threat to resorts, businesses, and private properties along lakeshores.
District 3A State Rep. Rob Ecklund, International Falls (DFL), expressed support Friday for the deployment.
“It’s been many years since we’ve experienced this level of flooding, and if we don’t act quickly, homes, cabins, businesses, resorts, and other property could be in grave jeopardy,” Ecklund said. “I’m grateful for the folks in our region who have come together to volunteer in this effort, and we need more hands on deck.”
The St. Louis County Board of Commissioners declared a state of local emergency on Tuesday for the entire county and has begun compiling damage reports in anticipation of filing for federal and state assistance.
"The communities and their town boards have been doing an amazing job. Even resort guests have been stepping up to help," said Dewey Johnson, county Emergency Operations Manager. "St. Louis County continues to work with these local townships who are the lead on local incidents. We are assisting with resource requests such as sand and sandbags, and we work with the state on additional resource requests and damage reporting.”
To help residents and government jurisdictions affected by the flooding, the county has created a new resource page on its website: https://www.stlouiscountymn.gov/residents/damage-reporting-information. The page includes links for property owners to file damage reports with the county assessor for possible property tax relief. It also includes a link to a new map showing county roads and forest management roads that are currently closed due to flooding or water damage.
The Sheriff's Office also provided important safety reminders to boaters to watch for debris floating in the water. Boaters also should be aware that many buoys and navigational markers have not yet been able to be placed due to high water levels.
"Due to rising levels, water routes that people may have used in the past may not be a safe navigational route now, and new hazards are emerging daily" said Undersheriff Jason Lukovsky. "We're also asking boaters to be aware of the damage they may cause to shorelines from their boat's wake."
Current conditions and predictions can be found on the National Weather Service Rainy River Basin webpage, https://www.weather.gov/dlh/RainyRiverBasin#.
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