Flooding leaves Rapidan Dam in Minnesota in 'imminent failure condition': What to know

Updated

The Rapidan Dam in Blue Earth County, Minnesota is in "imminent failure condition," according to the county government's official Facebook page.

According to the Facebook post, Blue Earth County Emergency Management was made aware of "accumulating debris" at the dam on Sunday, and the dam is currently being monitored by Blue Earth County Public Works, Emergency Management and Sheriffs Offices.

"We do not know if it will totally fail or if it will remain in place, however we determined it was necessary to issue this notification to advise downstream residents and the correct regulatory agencies and other local agencies," the Blue Earth County government said on Facebook.

"The river has significantly cut around the west side of the dam. Xcel Energy and county infrastructure has added to the debris in the river," the county government said on Facebook. "We are aware of power outages and are working with Xcel Energy."

The post also said the County Road 33 bridge and County Road 90 bridge are being "closely monitored for debris passing downstream" and may be closed.

According to the Blue Earth County government website, the Rapidan Dam was constructed between 1908 and 1910 and measures about 475 feet in length and about 87 feet from the top of the dam to the stream bed.

In a separate Facebook post, Blue Earth County government officials said anyone that is in immediate danger in regards to the Rapidan Dam have been notified, while noting that the dam is "currently intact" and there is not an evacuation order in place for Blue Earth County residents.

Governor says crops, businesses and families to be impacted

Gov. Tim Walz echoed that there is no need for an evacuation order in the larger communities downstream but acknowledged that the situation will carry implications on crops, businesses and families. He said the state anticipates they will request federal disaster assistance as the situation escalates.

"This is a rapidly evolving situation, it's gonna be very dangerous," Walz said at the Democratic Governor's Association press conference in Minneapolis on Monday. "Again, if a road is closed, it is closed. Don't go around. If there is water across the road, do not cross it. If you are monitoring local events, these things happen within hours, if you're asked to leave, leave."

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz speaking at the Democratic Governor's Association press conference in Minneapolis on Monday.
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz speaking at the Democratic Governor's Association press conference in Minneapolis on Monday.

He said experts expect flood levels at the river to reach 20 feet by the end of the week, higher than what's considered a major threat, which is 17 feet.

"So far, that has not happened but we're going to see many more road closures and we're going to have to then start doing the assessment of damage," he added.

Rapidan dam location

Flooding to continue as storms in forecast for Plains

Across the northern and central Plains, communities reeling from record-breaking floods over the weekend remained under threat of rising rivers as floodwaters headed downstream and forecasts project more rain this week.

Scattered, fast-moving showers were slated to impact the region early this week before more organized thunderstorms bring heavy rain by Thursday, according to the National Weather Service.

Last week, parts of the region were hit with a month's worth of rain in a span of 48 hours. Sioux Falls, South Dakota, received 6.33 inches of rain from Thursday to Saturday, with 10.8 inches of rain so far in June, according to AccuWeather.

"So much rain has fallen in a zone from southwestern Minnesota to northeastern Nebraska, including northwestern Iowa and southeastern South Dakota, that multiple rivers are on the rampage," said AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski.

Monday weather forecast: Central US to bake under scorching heat; flood threat persists in Iowa, Plains region

North Mankato, Minnesota declares flood emergency

North Mankato, Minnesota has declared a flood emergency Monday morning due to city crews building a temporary earth wall levee at the intersection of Lookout Drive and Lee Boulevard, city officials said in a Facebook post.

"These efforts are in response to the potential failure of the Rapidan Dam and to protect the City of North Mankato," the city government said on Facebook. "Additional roads will be closed as needed."

City officials said the river level is risky quickly and staff are "continuing to monitor river levels and the safety of North Mankato."

The Blue Earth County Public Works, Emergency Management and Sheriff’s offices will hold a news conference Tuesday at 9:00am local time to share more information on the dam's status and its impact on the communities.

Minnesota flood watches and warnings

Contributing: Christopher Cann and Anthony Robledo, USA TODAY, Samantha Woodward, SC Times.

Gabe Hauari is a national trending news reporter at USA TODAY. You can follow him on X @GabeHauari or email him at Gdhauari@gannett.com.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Rapidan Dam in Minnesota in 'imminent failure condition' after floods

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