Minnesota Guard called up to help in Crookston flood threat
CROOKSTON, Minn. (AP) — Volunteers and National Guard members in northwestern Minnesota spent two days sandbagging to fortify the city of Crookston from an expected record flood along the Red Lake River.
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz authorized 100 members of the Guard to assist with the flood fight after heavy rains forced the the tributary of the Red River to spill its banks. At least 50 Guard members were on hand over the weekend to aid efforts through Sunday.
The National Weather Service is predicting the Red Lake River to near 29 feet on Monday or Tuesday. The record high water mark was 28.4 feet in 1997.
No injuries or damages have been reported and the city has not asked anyone to evacuate, Crookston Police Chief Darin Selzler said. Officials were switching from a sandbagging to monitoring stage late Sunday, the Crookston Times reported.
Several counties in the northwestern Minnesota region have declared local emergencies and activated their emergency plans, according to Walz’s office. Many county roads were covered with water or washed out, and officials warned motorists about attempting to drive through flooded areas.
The Red Lake River flows into the Red River at East Grand Forks and Grand Forks, North Dakota, where officials from the two cities have started to activate some of their permanent flood protection measures put into place after a 1997 flood that devastated the two cities.
Forecasters expect a crest of 48 feet later this week on the Red River in Grand Forks. Flood stage is 18 feet. Officials on Monday planned to close one of the bridges that connects the two cities. Built-in floodwalls were being activated on both sides of the river, officials from the two cities said.