Governor, State Leaders prep for statewide flooding

in Duluth, MN
in Duluth, MN(Northern News Now)
Published: Apr. 14, 2023 at 3:07 PM CDT
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ST. PAUL (GRAY) -- As an unusual April heat wave swept across Minnesota this week, snowpack in some parts of the state has begun to melt. Thursday, Governor Tim Walz and others gathered at the State Emergency Operations Center in St. Paul to address growing concerns of a heavy flooding season.

“For the public’s awareness, they’re starting to see warmer temperatures and the water’s rising, [so we] just want to be able to be as prepared as possible,” said Governor Walz.

Walz was joined by flooding and emergency operations experts, who explained that heavy snowfall could lead to a statewide flooding problem.

“What’s noteworthy about what we have here is it’s not just one or two rivers, it’s across the state. So this is a widespread event that we are looking at,” said Dan Hawblitzel with the National Weather Service.

According to Hawblitzel, much of the flooding is currently confined to small streams and tributaries, but that will quickly change in the coming weeks.

“That water will start to get channeled into our larger mainstream rivers such as the Minnesota, Mississippi and the St. Croix and of course the Red River up north,” he said.

According to surveyors, there’s still a substantial amount of snowpack that hasn’t yet melted in the Red River Basin, a concerning trend that has officials closely monitoring the situation.

“That’s going to be going on [in the Red River] for the next several weeks, maybe even a month or more. And that’s highly going to be dependent on what we see for rainfall as well,” Hawblitzel said.

Walz says the state is ready to use the state’s Disaster Contingency Fund.

“The state of Minnesota is still prepared in a very efficient and effective manner if we move funds when we need to,” he said.

Officials say they’ll continue to monitor any and all possible floods, and advise anyone at risk of flooding to stay tuned to local media for updates.