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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.
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Residents and emergency crews have had a long day as they come to grips with massive flooding in Duluth. One good-news story amid the destruction: an 8-year-old boy who was swept for six blocks by floodwaters in Proctor was rescued, the Duluth News Tribune says.

Mayor Don Ness declared a state of emergency, citing “significant damage, debris and popped manholes.” On his Facebook page, Ness noted that more rain is coming, "so it is likely to get worse before it gets better." States of emergency were declared in Superior, Wis., and Hermantown, Minn., also, the AP reports. Gov. Mark Dayton is expected to visit Duluth on Thursday.

The situation at the Lake Superior Zoo was grim, the Duluth News Tribune reports, as part of its extensive coverage.

Emergency crews helped zoo staff locate animals as the zoo flooded, local media reported. At one point, a seal swam out of its exhibit and was found on Grand Avenue. Many of the zoo’s animals drowned, including all but one of the zoo’s barnyard animals. The zoo’s donkey, goats and sheep died.

The Tribune is gathering personal stories from residents.

WDIO has lists of government and organization closures and road closures, as well as striking video of some of the flooding, including shots of an I-35 tunnel and a car falling into a massive sinkhole.

Duluth City Hall and the University of Minnesota campus were closed, and authorities are recommending emergency travel only, MPR says.

MPR is collecting some stunning images from residents in this blog.

The weather service reports that 7.7 inches of rain in 12 hours fell in one area, MPR reports. There's a break now, but more rain is in the forecast, perhaps as much as 1-3 more inches.

A resident shot this amazing video, posted to YouTube. His steep street looked like a waterfall:

Here's a shot of First Avenue West at 4th Street, posted to YouTube by besidemeg:

WCCO had some coverage this morning:

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Animal deaths shine light on security at Duluth Zoo

When the zoo was reaccredited in 2011, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums criticized the zoo’s security and said it “had a naïve approach to safety.” At the time of the flood, there was not a security guard on the grounds. However, even if someone had been there the night of the flood, zoo officials told the Duluth News Tribune that it’s no guarantee that six sheep, four goats, a donkey, a turkey vulture and a snowy owl that were found drowned could have been saved.

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A number of animals died in the flooding in northeast Minnesota, including some at the Lake Superior Zoo. But there were also some inspiring saves.

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The animal-rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals says the Lake Superior Zoo in Duluth was negligent in allowing 13 or 14 animals to die during the flood Wednesday. PETA called on Duluth City Attorney Gunnar Johnson to bring cruelty charges against the zoo.

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.

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.

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