Governor Walz visits flood plain in northeast Minnesota and promises help
Governor Walz visits flood plain in northeast Minnesota and promises help

BIWABIK, Minn. – Gov. Tim Walz pledged Minnesota’s support as he toured the damage left by this week’s heavy rains in northeast Minnesota Friday morning.

The governor, along with other state leaders, toured the submerged Mesabi Trail in Biwabik and assessed the damage in the St. Louis County area, where the popular hiking trail is said to have been submerged several times. He and others headed north Friday afternoon to view the damage in Cook, Minnesota, which was inundated by floodwaters from the Little Fork River.

Walz promised local authorities and residents that the state is ready to help as more rain is forecast and reconstruction efforts continue, urging them to keep receipts so damages can be accurately assessed.

Between 5 and 7 inches of rain fell in the Cook area, causing the water level of the Little Fork River to rise further and washing water into the streets and homes of the town of Cook, which is about 90 miles north of Duluth.

With additional rain forecast for the weekend, authorities are bracing for a repeat of the floods of 2012, when heavy rains wreaked havoc in northeastern Minnesota.

The damage across much of northeastern Minnesota prompted St. Louis County to declare a state of emergency on Thursday after Tuesday night’s storm drenched the region, flooding residential areas and splitting some roads in half. Major damage reported so far includes:

  • About 170 campers from the YMCA Camp du Nord near Ely were stranded behind a flooded road.
  • A major washout exposed Biwabik’s underground utility infrastructure and compromised the water supply.
  • Flooding reportedly washed away railroad tracks in northern St. Louis County, a major transportation artery to Canada.

St. Louis County Commissioner Keith Nelson has estimated the damage so far at at least $50 million, and county officials said the storm was the second-largest natural disaster in the last three decades after the 2012 flood.

This story is developing. Check back when more details are available.

By Liam