It has been nearly a year since a devastating flood drenched Duluth with up to 10 inches of record-setting rain.
As part of the legacy of the great deluge, the city of steep streets is upgrading its storm sewer system, which was originally installed 130 years ago, the Star Tribune reports. Bigger pipes are needed to accommodate more rainfall, a documented trend that scientists have linked to climate change, the newspaper reports.
The new system could handle a storm with a chance of occurring once every 50 years, which would bring about 5.5 inches of rain in 24 hours, city officials say. Culverts and bridges are being designed to handle a once-in-a-century storm, 6.3 inches in 24 hours, the Star Tribune reports.
The storm last June 19 and 20 was one that officials say could be expected only once in 1,000 years.
The city aims to also improve 14 streams that cascade through Duluth, which are home to brown, brook and rainbow trout. The fish could be overwhelmed by floodwater flows through the former, smaller culverts, city officials say. So new, wider concrete box culverts will be designed as flat spots in steep streams that amount to fish “resting areas,” the Star Tribune reports.
The Duluth flooding of 2012 was among the most notable floods in recent Minnesota history. It ripped apart streets, parks, sidewalks and homes, put a crimp in the city's key tourism industry, and made national celebrities of escaped zoo seals.
In other news, popular Jay Cooke State Park is open for visitors after it suffered more than $3 million worth of damage in the flooding and was closed for part of last summer, KARE 11 reports. A well-known swinging bridge is still being repaired and could be ready for use by August, park officials say.