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Homeland Security and Emergency Management

A Division of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety
Spring Flooding 

Spring Flooding

Message of the Day: April 22

Due to favorable conditions, the State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) is transitioning to recovery operations for flooding across the state. HSEM has been, and will continue to be, in contact with local emergency managers, state agency and federal partners. This section will be updated when conditions warrant.

  • 66 of 87 Minnesota counties and three tribal nations are currently impacted by some sort of flooding or ice jams.
  • 38 counties and one city have declared local emergencies: Big Stone, Blue Earth, Chippewa, Clay, Cottonwood, Faribault, Freeborn, Grant, Jackson, Kittson, Lac Qui Parle, Le Sueur, Lyon, Marshall, Martin, McLeod, Murray, Nicollet, Nobles, Norman, Pennington, Polk, Ramsey, Red Lake, Renville, Rock, Scott, Sibley, Stevens, Swift, Traverse, Wadena, Waseca, Washington, Watonwan, Wilkin, Wright, Yellow Medicine and St. Paul.
  • The Minnesota National Guard was released from its levee patrol mission in Halstad (Norman County) after the Red River dropped below the risk level.
  • Minnesota National Guard soldiers continue to conduct levee patrols in Oslo (Marshall County) where floodwaters have made the town an island. Soldiers will be released from this mission once waters fall below 37 feet.
  • Scott County reported minor mudslides on County Road 6 east of Blakeley over the weekend. Those mudslides have since been cleared.
  • The Minnesota and Mississippi Rivers are expected to crest again this week.
  • The Red River north of Grand Forks will likely remain in major flood stage for the next few weeks.
  • The Red River at Moorhead is expected to drop below major flood stage by this weekend.
  • Counties and state agencies are sending preliminary damage estimates to HSEM, which will determine whether to request state or federal disaster assistance. Learn more about the disaster recovery process in Minnesota.

Flood Forecasts

Significant winter snowpack, deep frost, increased soil moisture, late thaw, recent precipitation, and above normal streamflows are all contributing to a higher risk of flooding throughout Minnesota in the Upper Mississippi River Basin and the Red River Valley. With proper preparation and planning, Minnesotans can reduce their risks from harm and respond accordingly should flooding occur.

To obtain recent flood forecasts for the Red River Valley and the Upper Mississippi River Basin, visit the following National Weather Service office websites for updated information:

Grand Forks NWS

Twin Cities NWS

NWS Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service (interactive map with river observations, river forecasts and long-range flood risks)

Before a Flood

The following list includes action steps everyone can take to prepare for any type of flooding:

  1. Assemble an emergency kit: It should include provisions for you and your family to live on for a at least three days. Do not forget medications, medical equipment needs, phone chargers and pet supplies.

  2. Make an emergency plan: Communicate and practice that plan with your family. Choose an evacuation route. Learn about the emergency plans that have been established in your area by your state and local government.

  3. Get a NOAA Weather Radio: Listen for information, including advisories, watches and warnings. Watch news reports for information and sign up for text alerts.

  4. Prepare your home: Elevate appliances such as the furnace, water heater and electric panel. Install "check valves" to prevent flood water from backing up into the drains of your home. Construct barriers to stop water from entering the building and seal basement walls.

  5. Get flood insurance: Property insurance does not typically cover flood damage and any disaster assistance will not cover all damages. Talk to your insurance provider about your policy and consider additional coverage. Flood insurance takes 30 days to go into effect, so purchase now to protect your family. DPS blog on flood insurance.

Review this checklist for additional ways to prepare and protect your home. (DPS)

Before a Flood steps as listed in the adjacent text


During a Flood

Turn around, don't drown. Never walk or drive through floodwater

The following list includes action steps everyone can take to stay safe while flooding is in progress:

  1. Stay informed: Listen to news reports; check the internet and social media for updates from local authorities. Watch text alerts for more information.

  2. Obey evacuation orders: If you live in a flood prone area or are camping in a low lying area, get to higher ground immediately. If told to evacuate, do so immediately. Lock your home when you leave. If you have time, disconnect utilities and appliances.

  3. Practice electrical safety: Don't go into a basement, or any room, if water covers the electrical outlets or if cords are submerged. If you see sparks or hear buzzing, crackling, snapping or popping noises--get out!

  4. Avoid flood waters: Don't walk through flood waters. It only takes 6 inches of moving water to knock you off your feet. If you are trapped by moving water, move to the highest possible point and call 911 if possible.

  5. Turn around, don't drown: Do NOT drive into flooded roadways, across bridges or around a barricade. Water may be deeper than it appears and can hide hazards. If your vehicle stalls, rising water may engulf the area. Seek higher ground immediately, such as climbing onto the roof.

    Download the "Turn around, don't drown" graphic in the following languages:
    What to Do in a Flash Flood. Prepare to evacuate. Do not walk or drive through flooded areas


After a Flood

  1. Listen for information/instructions: Return home only when authorities say it is safe. Contact family and friends.

  2. Avoid floodwaters: The water can contain dangerous debris and be contaminated. Underground or downed power lines can also electrically charge the water. Avoid driving through disaster areas, except in emergencies.

  3. Be aware of electrocution risks: Do not touch electrical equipment if it is wet or if you are standing in water. If it is safe, turn off the electricity to prevent shock. Use a generator or other gas-powered machines outdoors and away from windows.

  4. Safety first: Protect yourself from potential hazards. Snakes, insects and other animals may be in your house. Look for sewage, mold, contaminated food. Buildings may not be habitable, so examine structures before entering. Wear protective clothing (gloves, boots, masks, goggles). Have a first aid kit and clean drinking water available.

  5. Begin recovery: Take photos/videos and keep records of any damages. Report damages to your county emergency manager and insurance company.

Coming home after a flood. Your home may be contaminated. Make sure power and gas are off. Photograph damage and contact insurance agent


General Flood Preparedness, Response and Recovery Resources