Mississippi River nears crest, causing floods in Minnesota

Mississippi River floodwaters in downtown St. Paul, Minn., are expected to crest on Thursday, capping days of surging waters and rains that have imperiled Minnesota and other parts of the Midwest.

In recent weeks, swollen rivers and storms have created flooding in Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota and now in Minnesota, according to the National Weather Service. Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton has declared a state of emergency for 35 counties in his state, a move for seeking more federal aid.

In St. Paul, the Mississippi has already passed flood stage and was heading toward a crest of about 20.5 feet, the seventh-highest in more than 100 years of records. The record crest was 26 feet in April 1965.

So far the damage is estimated at about $1.7 million, according to city officials quoted by the Pioneer Press. Low-lying roads have been shut as have parks. Portable pumps have been deployed as well.


The city is under a state emergency for the first time since 2011, when the river crested at 19.02 feet on March 29 and at 18.71 feet on April 10.

The state of emergency declaration activates aid efforts from state agencies including the Department of Natural Resources.

The rains and floods have created problems elsewhere in the state as well since the wet season began around June 11. Days of heavy rains left farm fields under water and roads washed out.

"The damage is really unprecedented and very widespread," Dayton told reporters.

In Minneapolis, no injuries were reported in a mudslide in which a large section of earth gave way on a cliff near the Mississippi River. The slide occurred not far from a hospital near the University of Minnesota campus. Two motorists in the slide's path accelerated to safety as the mud and debris were falling, officials told reporters earlier in the week.

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