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Warm Weather + Melting = Flood Warnings

​The arrival of record-breaking warm temperatures over the weekend has led to a big snowmelt over much of Minnesota and that means that waterways are seeing the effects. The National Weather Service is starting to issue flood warnings as stream and river levels begin to rise.  The Twin Cities National Weather Service is closely watching the Mississippi River near Fort Ripley, where it could reach flood stage on Friday. Other rivers are also running higher, including the Red River near Fargo and East Grand Forks. While there could be some minor flooding, the return of below-freezing temperatures could reduce flood concerns.

Now is a good time to refresh your memory about being prepared for flooding, both at home and in the car. Know how to protect your property from flooding with the National Flood Insurance Program.

Emergency managers consider uncertain flood outlook

Much of Minnesota has been waterlogged since a series of thunderstorms rolled through the state last summer and the Mississippi River in St. Paul is running four times higher than it normally does this time of year. But according to the meteorologist in charge at the Twin Cities National Weather Service, that doesn’t necessarily mean we will see extreme flooding. Dan Luna says there are many factors that go into the flood outlook. Among them:

  • Ground saturation levels.
  • Snowpack and moisture within the snowpack.
  • River and stream levels.
  • Forecast for snow/rain.
Luna talked about the potential for spring flooding on the final day of the Governor’s HSEM Conference in Brooklyn Park. He says there is minimal snowpack and Minnesota isn’t expecting a major snow or rain storm over the next several weeks. So, although the rivers are high and the ground is saturated, he expects only minor flooding at this point. The Red River Valley from Grand Forks north to the Canadian border is the most at risk. The Twin Cities NWS plans to release an official flood forecast in the coming weeks. Review flood safety measures now so you’re prepared later.

Report shows state is better prepared to respond to oil train accidents

Joe Kelly Rail Safety Testimony
Oil train safety took center stage at Minnesota’s capitol this week when HSEM Director Joe Kelly presented legislators with a report that detailed two years of work. The report shows that local agencies have a better understanding of their ability to respond to oil and hazardous material incidents. The report also recommended more support for drills and exercises with local fire departments and other law enforcement. The report was required by rail safety legislation passed in 2014.

Review Director Kelly’s testimony and learn more about HSEM’s awareness and operations level training for first responders.

 

New State Emergency Operations Center Proposal

When a major disaster strikes in Minnesota, the State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) helps coordinate the response to assist Minnesota’s local communities on their worst of days. The current SEOC in St. Paul is lacking space, an ideal location and the latest technology, which could put the state’s response capabilities at risk.

That’s why Governor Mark Dayton is again, proposing a $33.3 million dollars for a new facility to house the SEOC as part of his Job’s Bill. The SEOC is where Homeland Security and Emergency Management staff, along with other state agencies, coordinate during disasters and emergencies.

Go behind-the-scenes of an exercise at the SEOC in our Mic’d Up video series.

Featured Video

Video Description: This video shows what happens behind the scenes during an exercise in the State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC).