Up to 10 inches of rain fell overnight in Duluth this week, overwhelming the city’s sewer system and road infrastructure. Flash flood warnings were in place for much of the north shore as streams and rivers overflowed their banks in torrents of water.
Sink holes swallowed cars, roads washed out and even zoo animals were affected as parts of the zoo were destroyed–12 barnyard animals died, and some animals escaped the zoo. Two seals and a polar bear were seen roaming Duluth.
According to an article in the Star Tribune, no serious injuries or deaths have been reported, though police say there have been several close calls for people who stood too close to raging water. Governor Mark Dayton is touring the region today, and Duluth Mayor Don Ness has said he expects repairs to cost in the tens of millions of dollars.
Meteorologists report that the flooding occurred after six or seven storms moved through the region over an 18-hour period. The weather is expected to dry out today, however, and rivers should crest at or above record levels by Saturday.
Residents and tourists are being asked not to drive in the area, as portions of highway 210 and scenic highway 61 have also been flooded and torn up. At one point, more than 60 roads were closed.
The seals and polar bear have been safely captured and are being relocated to the Como Zoo in St. Paul until they can return to their Duluth home.