1-year anniversary: The Duluth Deluge


The city of Duluth on Wednesday marks the one-year anniversary of the worst flooding the city has ever seen. Several flood commemoration events are planned, the Duluth News Tribune reports.

A record storm June 19-20, 2012, dumped up to 10 inches of rain on some areas. Storm drains were overwhelmed and torrents of brown water rushed through the city built on a steep incline on the Lake Superior shore.

Flooding left huge sinkholes around town, closed Interstate 35 in the city, tore up dozens of streets, forced hundreds of residents from their houses and killed several zoo animals. Two seals gained national attention when the rushing waters washed them out of the zoo and one was photographed on a city street.

The damage was "horrific," Gov. Mark Dayton said after touring the city a few days after the storm.

Somewhat remarkably, no one was killed in the flooding. Perhaps the storm's best-known survivor was an 8-year-old boy playing in flood waters in Proctor, Minn., who took a frightening ride several blocks through a culvert but suffered only scrapes.

Flood recovery continues to plod along. The flood damaged 3,145 homes, leaving significant damage to 1,900 of them, the News Tribune reported in a lengthy look at where recovery efforts stand one year later. About half of those 1,900 have been repaired, the newspaper reported. Homes suffered about $40 million in damage, with about $20 million in losses to homeowner belongings, the newspaper reported.

Homeowners and businesses have been seeking loans and aid. The Regional Flood Fund raised more than $760,000, funneled to about 380 homeowners, Northland's Newscenter reported. The Ordean Foundation, Salvation Army, and Catholic and Lutheran Churches have raised another $2 million for projects that did not qualify for federal help, the newscenter reported.

The federal government and the state of Minnesota are both paying about $14 million each to repair public infrastructure, the News Tribune reported.

"Most of the heavy lifting of flood recovery — in terms of the fixing of the roads, and fixing of the culverts, and addressing some of the structural damage caused by the floods—most of that work is going to be done in the next 12 months," Duluth Mayor Don Ness said recently, Northland's Newscenter reported.

The flood produced volumes of memorable images. MPR and CityPages were among a number of news outlets that collected photos. The News Tribune has numerous slideshows and video.

About a week after the flooding, the News Tribune put together an hour-by-hour chronology that told the story of the historic storm in detail.

Next Up

ballot voting vote

Appeals court changes rules for MN absentee ballots received after Election Day

Pending a further challenge, votes received after 8 p.m. on Election Day may not be counted.

Donald Trump

Confusion over where Trump campaign rally will be held Friday

It sounds like it'll be held at the airport in Rochester.

Screen Shot 2020-10-29 at 3.19.05 PM

This video of the Lowry Hill Tunnel walls being cleaned is oddly satisfying

The tunnel will be closed overnight Thursday for cleaning.

gray wolf

Gray wolf removed from the endangered species list

A decision on whether they can be hunted in Minnesota will come later.

covid saliva test

Minnesota opening its 7th saliva testing location in St. Paul

The tests are free and open to anyone regardless of if they have symptoms.

pete stauber - qunn nystrom CD8

Election 2020 preview: Minnesota's 8th Congressional District

It's a race between incumbent Rep. Pete Stauber and Democratic challenger Quinn Nystrom.

fire, flames

Lives saved as passerby, city workers rescue from 3 from Golden Valley fire

The Golden Valley Fire Department responded to the fire Wednesday morning.

Caribou Coffee Holiday 2020

Caribou Coffee rolls out holiday cups, menu early

The holiday season is underway at some Twin Cities stores, with a nationwide rollout planned for Nov. 5.

Malik Beasley

Charges: Timberwolves' Beasley pointed assault rifle at family on a home tour

The family was on the Parade of Homes tour when Beasley allegedly pointed the gun at them, telling them to get off his property.


Deluge in Duluth: boy rescued, zoo animals drown

Torrential rain caused major flooding in Duluth Wednesday. A state of emergency was declared. Police told residents to stay home. At least one neighborhood was evacuated and roads and highways were closed, including Interstate 35 at several points. The Lake Superior Zoo was badly flooded and a number of animals drowned.

The Duluth Deluge: Images tell the story

The photos and video of historic flooding in Duluth and northeastern Minnesota tell the tale better than words ever could. Here are some of the dramatic images.

Many Duluth homes still not safe; flood damage estimates climbing

Hundreds of residents in the low-lying Fond du Lac area of Duluth still cannot return after massive flooding in northeastern Minnesota this week. Damage estimates are climbing and more rain is expected. Meanwhile, congressional lawmakers pledge federal support. And kids in Duluth opened a lemonade stand to raise money for the Lake Superior Zoo, which was hit hard by the floodwaters.

After the flood, life goes on in Duluth; zoo plans to open next week

After the floods in Duluth, an army of volunteers has stepped in to fill a gap between when emergency workers leave and more long-term help arrives. Race routes have been altered, but the events will go on. Biking and hiking trails are open. And the zoo plans to reopen on Friday with most of the park's 483 animals on display.

Duluth scrambles to fix flood-ravaged streets

It's been four months since flooding devastated the streets of Duluth, and now winter is closing in fast. Street crews are racing to get as much work done as they can before snow and ice burrow into holes and makes them even bigger, forcing repair costs higher, WDIO reports.

Duluth kids set up lemonade stand to raise money for flooded zoo

Everybody's pitching in to get flood-damaged Duluth back on its feet, including the city's younger residents. KAAL-TV reports that some local kids have set up a stand to sell lemonade and Rice Krispie treats at 50 cents a piece, and so far they've raised $50. The Lake Superior Zoo lost several animals in the recent flooding.