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Gov. Walz says he may call special session over Minnesota flood damage

Twin Cities dealing with the impacts of flooding along Minnesota, Mississippi rivers
Twin Cities dealing with the impacts of flooding along Minnesota, Mississippi rivers 02:03

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Gov. Tim Walz and U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar took an aerial tour of the region earlier in the day to survey flood damage. Thereafter, Walz said he would potentially call a special session if the damage costs end up higher than the relief money currently available.

"The human impact was, certainly in Waterville, many more homes, the impact certainly feels pretty dramatic with water up to the second floor," Walz said Tuesday. "The process of starting clean up and that will simultaneously happen with damage assessments. There is a set process on how this works."

The governor talked about working with local and federal partners to help with the rebuilding efforts but also warned that it will take time. 

Klobuchar said that at $10.5 million is when federal aid, kicks in for public infrastructure, which is paid on a county-by-county basis once a disaster deceleration is made. In all, 12 counties are in disaster declarations from earlier weather events this year.

Klobuchar said that, as of yet, there are no deaths reported as a result of these latest floods.


The governor and senator were joined by Minnesota National Guard Major General Shawn Manke, Minnesota Department of Public Safety Commissioner Bob Jacobson and Minnesota Department of Agriculture Commissioner Thom Petersen.

Manke updated that over 40 guard members are in Waterville, helping man seven pump stations and making sure they are operating 24/7. Additionally, an armory in the Faribault area will open with assistance from the Red Cross to help families that may need it.

Petersen said that his administration is working closely with the USDA but the best thing farmers facing issues can do is go to their county office to report any issues or damage — crop loss, water in fields or damage to livestock facilities.  

"Up in the air, it really shows the widespread difficulties our farmers face," said Peterson. "A lot of those fields are going to struggle in the coming days and weeks." 

The Department of Agriculture has updated a new website with resources for flooding issues that farmers or Minnesotans related to agriculture may have. That can be found on the Minnesota Department of Agriculture state website. 

On Monday, Walz called the flooding "unprecedented," but said the state is prepared. It's why there's a partial activation at the State Emergency Operation Center, where partner state agencies are working together to coordinate what they call a "One Minnesota Effort."  

Massive flooding is now impacting nearly half of Minnesota. As of Tuesday morning, a few rivers in Minnesota are near, or in a few cases even above, record levels, including the Des Moines River near Avoca and Windom, and the Minnesota River at Henderson and Jordan.

Le Sueur County, which includes Waterville, has declared a state of emergency due to flood damage. Waterville officials said this is the worst flooding the town has ever seen. Parts of the city are underwater due to 14 to 18 inches of cumulative rainfall. Some areas are worse than others, with flood water knee-deep to hip-deep.

Following a request from the Le Sueur County Sheriff, Governor Walz declared a peacetime emergency on Saturday and authorized the Minnesota National Guard to assist with flood operations.  

Flooding on the Blue Earth River caused an abutment of the Rapidan Dam to partially fail on Monday morning, and it remains in "imminent failure condition." That dam is located just southwest of Mankato. 

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