Wright County among those in declaration
By Ryan Gueningsman
Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty issued an executive order March 15 declaring a state of emergency in Big Stone, Blue Earth, Brown, Carver, Chippewa, Clay, Dakota, Goodhue, Hennepin, Kittson, Lac Qui Parle, Le Sueur, Lyon, Marshall, Nicollet, Norman, Polk, Ramsey, Redwood, Renville, Scott, Sibley, Swift, Traverse, Washington, Wilkin, Wright, and Yellow Medicine to protect property and infrastructure from damage due to flooding.
By his executive order, the governor is activating the Minnesota National Guard to assist in flood preparations and to provide emergency relief services.
The governor’s executive order also directs the Department of Public Safety, Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management to activate the Minnesota Emergency Operations Plan and to continue on-site support and assistance to the affected local governments.
In addition, all state agencies, in cooperation with appropriate federal agencies, are directed to provide the assistance necessary to help respond to and recover from this emergency.
In the order, the governor said hydrologic conditions indicate a strong potential for severe spring flooding exist in the Red River of the North Basin, Minnesota River Basin, Crow River Basin, St. Croix River Basin, and Upper and Lower Mississippi River Basins.
He said the National Weather Service reports that points along the Red River of the north are experiencing minor to moderate flooding and are forecast to reach major flood stage within days and points along the Minnesota River are experiencing intermittent ice jams and increased risk of flooding.
Such conditions contributing to the threat of flooding and inundation include excessive precipitation throughout the fall and winter seasons causing saturated soil conditions, high water equivalency in the current snowpack, full wetlands and ditches that result in minimal available surface storage, and the prospects of additional moisture and ice jams through the spring snowmelt.
The closure of secondary roads, sandbagging operations, and other emergency measures is required in response to flooding conditions, Pawlenty said in the order.
Counties’ emergency operations plans are activated, cities and counties have declared local emergencies, and local jurisdictions have begun requesting state and federal assistance and resources, he said.
The resources of local, county, and state governments must be fully utilized to ensure immediate response to protect the life and safety of persons in the affected area, including the tribal nation of Upper Sioux Agency and the following counties: Big Stone, Blue Earth, Brown, Carver, Chippewa, Clay, Dakota, Goodhue, Hennepin, Kittson, Lac Qui Parle, Le Sueur, Lyon, Marshall, Nicollet, Norman, Polk, Ramsey, Redwood, Renville, Scott, Sibley, Swift, Traverse, Washington, Wilkin, Wright, and Yellow Medicine, and to protect property and infrastructure from additional damage.