Duluth Flood
June 20, 2012 1:12 PM   Subscribe

Flooding in Duluth, MN leads to incredible pictures and sudden fame for a local seal.
posted by the young rope-rider (28 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
It is also sad because the donkey died, though.
posted by elizardbits at 1:17 PM on June 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

Feisty gets my...

posted by modernserf at 1:19 PM on June 20, 2012 [3 favorites]

If anyone else is frustrated by the strib's absolutely borked website, this link may have a bit more friendly of a gallery page (at least for me). You just have to answer an annoying survey question every two or three slides.

And yes, the rain has been totally bonkers this week in MN. Oh, look, another line of storms doth approach!
posted by Think_Long at 1:19 PM on June 20, 2012

Kind of a bummer. Other animals to escape include the zoo's polar bear (named Berlin) and miniature horse named Darla, who escaped by "swimming her heart out".
posted by 2bucksplus at 1:21 PM on June 20, 2012

The seal wasn't the only animal to escape the downpour - the zoo's polar bear also swam out of its exhibit.


A young POLAR BEAR enters stage right.


(voiceover with light echo)

Remember, no swimming for 40 minutes after you eat. You'll cramp up!

POLAR BEAR plods on, looking left to right and back again, snuffling curiously.

posted by Inspector.Gadget at 1:29 PM on June 20, 2012

I am totally imagining an awesome video of the polar bear escaping. The video is set to Agent Orange. It is rad.
posted by elizardbits at 1:31 PM on June 20, 2012

It's remarkable to me that such dramatic weather patterns are only a few hours away from here. In Madison, for the past 2 months, I think we've clocked in at maybe 1" of rain. I look out over the hay that used to be my yard and sigh dramatically.
posted by thanotopsis at 1:32 PM on June 20, 2012

+100 points for the use of the uffda tag.
posted by tommasz at 1:35 PM on June 20, 2012 [8 favorites]

That seal has been interacting with almost everybody I know in Minneapolis, as well as my girlfriends, with whom he has been making Arrested Development jokes.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 1:44 PM on June 20, 2012

MPR has a pretty cool map of the flooding sites. Including video and photos!
posted by jillithd at 1:46 PM on June 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

Thanks for the map-- my wife is from Duluth but I've only ever been there once so I couldn't tell from the photos if any of the affected areas were familiar to me.
posted by shakespeherian at 1:48 PM on June 20, 2012

They (MPR) have some amazing pictures, too. Including MASSIVE sinkhole. I have a couple cousins who live there and it's really amazing all of the destruction that's happening!
posted by jillithd at 2:44 PM on June 20, 2012 [3 favorites]

I've been following this all day. The roads in Duluth were pretty bad to begin with because of the extreme climate and now many are just... gone. Sad that many zoo animals drowned as well.
It's the highest flood on record in places.
posted by starman at 2:52 PM on June 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

Yeah, just for the record I find this sad and a bit nerve-wracking. My in-laws and several family friends live in Duluth, we had our wedding reception there, and we go back every summer and Christmas. It will be interesting to see how it changes after this flood. I hope all the Duluth mefites are doing okay!
posted by the young rope-rider at 2:55 PM on June 20, 2012

"You can hear rocks and boulders being moved down the river [...] I can't even imagine the force of this river."


I need to stop shouting at YouTube.
posted by MattWPBS at 2:58 PM on June 20, 2012 [2 favorites]

That one dude with the camera looked like he was standing in the flash flood...probably a dumb thing to do.
posted by Seymour Zamboni at 3:00 PM on June 20, 2012

I thought this was sort of light-hearted when I heard about it from friends & family around Dulut' -- then I heard about the kid dragged through a culvert, and saw the pictures of cars in sinkholes. And then I got a little scared for them. :7(
posted by wenestvedt at 3:33 PM on June 20, 2012

shakespherian, everything is involved from what I can tell, unless she's from up on the bluffs outside of town.
posted by wenestvedt at 3:35 PM on June 20, 2012

She is from the area straight up the hill from Fitger's.
posted by shakespeherian at 4:17 PM on June 20, 2012

> She is from the area straight up the hill from Fitger's.

That's near the Whole Foods where the retaining wall for the parking lot collapsed.

For those not familiar with Duluth, most of the old parts of the city are built on a steep hill that leads down to the lake or on the small plain right on the lake. There's a lot of water moving down a steep incline.
posted by nathan_teske at 4:32 PM on June 20, 2012

Yikes! We were just at Canal Park for the Marathon three days ago. The pictures are truly terrifying. How sad for Duluth, one of my favorite places. And the flooding is worst in the best parts.
posted by Malla at 5:34 PM on June 20, 2012

It's just terrible what has happened. I live 30 miles up the shore from Duluth, and we received ten inches of rain in 24 hours. Cell phone service was out for most of Lake County until the late afternoon today, internet and landline telephone service was spotty (still is).

I drove to take a look at Knife River at about 6:30 this morning (probably not a great idea) and parked right next to where we cheered on the marathoners a few days ago. The river was roaring right up against the bottom of the bridge over scenic 61. I'd never seen anything like it.

People in town that live in houses up on the hillsides were cut off from the paved roads - water rushed down the sides of the roads and dug huge ditches where their dirt/gravel driveways met the road. One couple walked several miles into town to use the internet at the library so that they could let their friends know they were okay. They had to put a plywood plank over the ditch to get across - it was about four feet across and four feet deep. People were unable to leave their houses, their phones didn't work, their internet didn't work. They were essentially cut off: it was scary!

I'm glad that we didn't have much in the way of infrastructure damage up here, other than keeping the Gravel Guy in business for the next several months, fixing ditches. It's going to be a long rebuild for Duluth. *sigh*
posted by Elly Vortex at 6:10 PM on June 20, 2012

Duluthian here... yeah a lot of sporadic havoc. One thing I've noticed is a lot of the damage is concentrated in areas surrounding the many creeks that flow down the hills. Over the last 100 years or so many of these creeks where shunted into underground culverts and paved over. So, with the huge amount of rain all in a short amount of time those creeks and streams literally ate the streets out from beneath. For example, the photos you may see of the Co-Op retaining wall collapsing? That's Brewery creek busting out of it's confines.
A fair number of mudslides out in West Duluth area (near the Zoo mentioned)

Perhaps most sentimentally devastating is the loss of the swinging bridge out at Jay Cook State Park (on the SW edge of the city. The bridge deck was about 23 feet above normal water line, and the water was flowing over like mad, at least partially because up river the dam on The St. Louis has to let out massive amounts of water or risk completely drowning Carlton MN. As it is the dam was supposedly under a breach warning today. Downstream of the park in Fond du Lac people had to be evacuated by boat from their homes.

The take away? It's bad in parts, but by no means a complete devastation.

Mayor, Don Ness mentioned during one of the few breathers today he turned on Pandora and the first song out? A Hard Rain's Gonna Fall.

For reference, a snowfall with this much precipitation? About 40 to 90 inches.
posted by edgeways at 6:54 PM on June 20, 2012 [6 favorites]

There were a few Arrested-Development-style "Loose Seal" jokes at the Minneapolis hipster dinner party I was at tonight, but they were tempered with the sadness that a lot of the barnyard animals at the Duluth Zoo died in the flood. What a fucking bummer.
posted by padraigin at 7:39 PM on June 20, 2012

Elly, at least it's happening with a lot of time before winter to get things fixed.
posted by wenestvedt at 6:50 AM on June 21, 2012

We're airing out our 120 year old basement today, but as someone from Illinois, I was really surprised, driving to the bank and such, how quickly the water disappeared.

I don't know how things are shaping up out west where people had to be evacuated by the St. Louis River. But everywhere else, it's street repairs that will need to be done, and bridges. The parks are the places that will really require a lot of volunteer people power. Washed out trails and banks will have to be repaired, or damage will continue.

Mostly I was sad about all the baby beasties who were probably swept out to sea in the deluge. (Not to mention the zoo beasties.)
posted by RedEmma at 10:35 AM on June 21, 2012

Looks like the Como Zoo in St. Paul is helping take care of the displaced zoo animals: COMO ZOO AIDS LAKE SUPERIOR ZOO, TAKES IN ANIMALS
posted by jillithd at 10:52 AM on June 21, 2012

Facebook photo link : Hwy 210 in Thompson is pretty effectively FUBAR-ed (this is pretty close to the dam I mentioned above).
posted by edgeways at 12:02 PM on June 21, 2012

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