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Flooding reported along I-35 corridor in southern Minnesota

While communities of southeast of Rochester are awaiting final flood damage assessments from FEMA officials, communities northwest of Olmsted County were busy dealing with flood damage from weekend storms.

The Northfield area received as much as 8 inches of rain Saturday during a four-hour span, which caused significant flood damage as the Cannon River rose more than 7 feet, according to the National Weather Service.

The Northfield News reports that the American Red Cross helped 20 residents who were displaced over the weekend, while some local businesses — such as Froggy Bottoms River Pub — also were affected by flooding. The North Oak Apartments had standing water on the first floor, and four homes were evacuated in Dundas.

The Rice County Sheriff's Office reported significant damage to Rice County Road 78 between Northfield and Dundas. A culvert was washed away, leaving the road impassable and severing a gas line and fiber optic line that were embedded below the road. The water also destroyed a portion of the nearby bike trail and a segment of the Union Pacific railroad.

Local officials have blocked all forms of transportation on Rice 78.


Rice county roads 88, 82 and 29 also have been closed due to flood damage.

In Cannon Falls, officials were assessing damage done to city parks along the Cannon River and Little Cannon River.

In the Twin Cities, where up to 8 inches of rain fell, the storm damaged power lines and left some 11,000 residents without power early Saturday morning, according to the Star Tribune.

The National Weather Service reported 3 inches of rain in Owatonna, up to 3.6 inches in Freeborn County and just less than an inch in Austin. Rochester and the surrounding areas were affected minimally, receiving about a half an inch.

While those regions are dealing with a new round of flooding, others are awaiting damage assessments from state and federal officials are touring the area last week.

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management and FEMA officials visited Houston County on Tuesday and Fillmore County on Wednesday as part of a 17-county tour across Minnesota. To qualify for federal disaster declaration, those officials must identify at least $7.226 million in damages.

Houston and Fillmore must hit $65,643 and $71,987, based on population factors, to qualify for federal relief.

If those thresholds are met, Gov. Mark Dayton eventually will submit a letter to President Barack Obama to request the disaster declaration.


Julie Anderson, external affairs coordinator for HSEM, said this morning that she expects the damage assessment numbers to be released Tuesday afternoon.

"I just know our folks are putting all the numbers together and working with the FEMA teams," Anderson said. "At this point, I can't share anything more than that, but we're hoping for tomorrow."

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