Residents battle Rainy River flooding in International Falls area

Author:
Updated:
Original:

The Rainy River just west of International Falls hit a record high level, and still the rain fell Sunday as volunteers rushed to sandbag in an effort to save homes, the Duluth News Tribune reports.

Minnesota Highway 11, a major thoroughfare in the town on the U.S.-Canadian border, remains closed to traffic, the newspaper reports. The highway in Loman, about 20 miles west of International Falls, was under 3 feet of water.

Just downstream from Loman, in Manitou Rapids, the Rainy River soared to 21.54 feet late Sunday night – up 6 feet in four days and now above the 21.04 feet record set during historic flooding in 1950, the News Tribune reports.

Officials blame the flooding on a wicked combination of snow melt and relentless rains in the last few days.

Downpours damped spirits of volunteers fighting to hold the river back over the weekend; 1.33 inches of rain fell in International Falls on Sunday, the National Weather Service reports. Monday called for clearer skies, with a chance for more rain Monday night.

A wall of sandbags on Sunday held about 2 feet of water from Ashley Belanger's home about 15 miles west of International Falls, she told WDIO. She and as many as 40 volunteers began to build the wall Friday as the river rose.

“We're just doing what we can. I mean you keep sandbagging and keep hoping the water is going to go down. And there is nothing else you can really do,” Belanger told the station.

Koochiching County sheriff's officials said volunteers had filled about 50,000 sandbags. Sheriff's officials pleaded for volunteers over the weekend.

Red Cross officials said more relief workers and supplies, including a second mobile feeding truck, were heading to International Falls Sunday and Monday, Northland's News Center reported.

Owners of Thunderbird Lodge on Rainy Lake in International Falls report that docks are submerged as the lake level has risen 3 feet above normal, the Associated Press reports.

YouTube user Melody Hensel captured some of the brutal conditions with a video uploaded Friday.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jJQyoqK111g

"With high water and 45 mph winds, our dock was being torn from it's rock cribs," she writes in the video description. "We were working to move barrels full of water that were being bounced around by waves, trying to save [the] dock."

On Friday, Canada's Ministry of Natural Resources declared a state of emergency due to the rising water levels, the Rainy River Record reports.

Next Up

vote, vote now

MN Supreme Court dismisses attempt to block election certification

Another legal defeat for Republicans challenging the election.

prison, Rush City cell block

Another Minnesota prison inmate dies after COVID-19 diagnosis

The virus has killed at least six Minnesota inmates.

leech lake band of ojibwe sign

11,760 acres of land wrongly taken from Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe will be returned

The Senate and now the House have passed a bill that effectively returns the land. It's now headed for the president's signature.

Karl-Anthony Towns

Timberwolves release first half of 2020-21 regular season schedule

The second half of the schedule will be announced at a later date.

reindeer como zoo

Watch live: Como Zoo's live reindeer cam is back for December

The live feed will run 24/7 allowing you to keep an eye on Santa's antlered helpers.

sleeping

Three simple ways to boost your immune health heading into winter

Eating right is one thing, but there are other ways to stay healthy as the days shorten.

Taylor Rogers

Why Twins fans shouldn't give up on Taylor Rogers

The Twins closer struggled in 2020 but could rebound next season.

Co. Rd. 2 crash, Wakefield Twp.

Teen driver leaves road, crashes into three trees

Fortunately, the 16-year-old was not injured.

mndot deer  tunnel 1

Minnesota is getting its first highway crossing for animals

This will provide a safe way for animals to cross the street, and hopefully limit deer-vehicle collisions.

Related