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Flood damage in Minnesota: $32 million and climbing

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As flood waters continue receding in many parts of Minnesota, the first estimates of the damage caused by those floods are starting to come in.

Gov. Mark Dayton and his emergency managers reported Tuesday that damage to public infrastructure totals about $32 million so far, but they added the final number will likely be much higher, the Associated Press reports.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has begun assessing flood damage throughout the state to determine whether Minnesota will qualify for federal disaster assistance, which would help pay for cleanup and repairs.

FEMA officials have visited several southern counties, and will likely start assessing damage in the Twin Cities metro area next week, according to the Associated Press. Meantime, officials in the 40 counties that have seen flooding are doing their own preliminary tallies, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports.

It appears as though the total damage will far exceed the $7.3 million threshold that's required to qualify for a disaster declaration.

Dayton said he hopes to submit the request for a federal disaster declaration by the end of next week. The disaster aid would only help pay for repairs to public infrastructure, not for damage to homes and businesses.

The state has a $3 million relief fund to help match federal disaster aid, and Dayton has said he may call a special session of the Legislature if more money is needed.

Waters are receding

After a few drier days, the water has begun to recede on rivers and lakes in the region.

The level of the St. Croix River has dropped enough so that officials will reopen the Stillwater lift bridge to vehicle traffic Wednesday at 4 p.m.

In St. Paul, the Mississippi River is receding after flooding downtown streets as well as the Harriet Island and Raspberry Island parks. The high waters forced the relocation of the Taste of Minnesota festival from Harriet Island to the Carver County Fairgrounds in Waconia over the the July 4 weekend. And the city's annual fireworks display was moved from the park to the State Capitol Grounds.

In Delano, the Crow River has dropped 5 feet after cresting a week ago at 21 feet, according to FOX 9. City crews are cleaning up and repaving some damaged streets in time for the city's July 4 parade, which is expected to attract a crowd of up to 30,000 spectators.

Officials were scheduled to reopen the bridge over the Crow River Tuesday afternoon.

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