St. Louis County Continues Monitoring Flooding

DULUTH, Minn. – St. Louis County officials are continuing to monitor the worst flooding some parts have not seen since 2014.

A combination of above average spring rainfall and a late snowpack melt has led to water covering roads, buildings, and resorts along Kabetogama Lake, Crane Lake, Island Lake and the Cloquet River reservoir.

“Sandbagging continues up in Kabetogama, and also up in Crane Lake,” says Emergency Management Coordinator Dewey Johnson.  “Still looking for volunteers for sandbaggers.  We do have some homes starting to flood along the Cloquet River.”

This flooding event is considered a slow moving event, especially along the Rainy Lake Basin, which could last for several weeks or longer.  Johnson says they are starting to collect damage reports that will assist with future funding requests.  “But we need to get out eventually and see what damage has occurred, and start getting some numbers together so we can start reporting to the state, and that opens up the federal avenue also.”

For now, the county’s main focus is currently focused on public safety.  St. Louis County Under Sheriff Jason Lukowsky says they want people to no drive where flooding is occurring, and to be careful with the boats on area waterways.  “With the high water levels, we have floating dock sections, chairs, all kinds of debris from the yards and resorts that are affected by this.

“Our advice from a boating safety standpoint is use your electronics, but don’t be fully dependent on those tracks that you may have had from years past.  There are new hazards that have presented themselves, rock pikes that you knew existed that may be just under water.  So we’re advising you to slow down and use your due diligence.”

The other effort is with sandbagging.  Johnson says townships are the first to respond to the situation, but the county is ready to assist when requests are made.  “They say we don’t have enough of this, we need help.  That’s when the county steps in and says we can help you with this.  We are actively assisting Kab and Crane Lake.  Again, Fredenberg and Grand Lake townships have reached out.  Those are the only ones so far that have reached out for assistance.”

St. Louis County issued a State of Emergency this week, allowing them to access state and federal funds if they become available.  People who have experienced damage from flooding can report it to the county online.

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