2 Minn. counties declare emergency amid flooding; 3 locks on Mississippi closed


Recent rains have raised river levels as well as flood concerns in the Upper Midwest. The National Weather Service has issued a number of flood warnings in North Dakota and Minnesota.

Houston and Fillmore counties in southeast Minnesota have declared a state of emergency after water levels in areas rose by more than 8 feet. Officials in the two counties, plus Winona County, are hoping that together they will meet the state’s $7 million threshold to qualify for assistance, the Winona Daily News reports. Roads were closed in the counties, some indefinitely.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at 8 a.m. Thursday closed the three Twin Cities locks on the rain-swollen Mississippi River to commercial traffic. The locks were closed Monday to recreational boaters, the Associated Press reported.

The corps closes the locks to commercial vessels when flows hit 40,000 cubic feet per second, the AP notes. The river is expected to run that high until next week.

Thunderstorms soaked the Fargo-Moorhead area this week, dumping up to 9 inches of rain in some areas and swamping roads and flooding basements, Forum Communications reports. The Red River has swelled enough to require an emergency levee in downtown Fargo, which is unusual but not unheard of in the summer, Forum reports.

A no-wake zone on the St. Croix River was put into effect Wednesday by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. The river rise prompted the DNR to implement a no-wake zone from Taylors Falls to Prescott, Wis., the Star Tribune reported.

The National Weather Service says the Mississippi River likely will swell above flood stage from Iowa to St. Louis, the Associated Press reported.

Hundreds of residents in New Hartford, Iowa, were forced to evacuate earlier this week when a rising creek threatened the town roughly 90 miles northeast of Des Moines.

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Flood water recedes, problems persist in NE Minn.

Floodwaters are receding in most areas of northeast Minnesota, but it will be several more days before the area is safe to travel. Many flood victims have started to turn their attention to cleaning up and surveying the damage -- which is expected to exceed $100 million in Duluth alone. Residents in the Fon du Lac neighborhood were among those allowed to return Saturday.