Minneapolis/ Transportation & Infrastructure
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Published on June 23, 2024
Rice County Declares State of Emergency Amid Widespread Flooding, Emergency Measures ActivatedSource: Rice County, Minnesota

As Rice County continues to grapple with severe weather conditions, residents are facing the impacts of a steady drumbeat of precipitation leading to widespread flooding. Rice County Sheriff’s Office – Emergency Management, in an advisory updated on June 22nd, has confirmed ongoing coordination with local resources to respond to the persistent rainfall and subsequent flooding. With the declaration of a state of emergency by the Rice County Board of Commissioners, the situation has activated various emergency measures.

In a statement released by the Rice County website, Director of Emergency Management, Joseph Johnson, details the current resources available to the community. Sandbag locations have been established in the cities of Morristown and Faribault, with the former accessible at the Public Works Building and the latter at a self-serve station at the Faribault Public Works Facility. However, it should be noted that neither the City of Northfield nor Rice County is providing public sandbag supplies, focusing instead on the protection of public infrastructure.

The update also provides a comprehensive list of road closures throughout Rice County, affecting travel and accessibility for many residents. Roadways such as County Road 15, County Road 21, and numerous others have been shuttered as floodwaters compromise the safety of these thoroughfares. The local Emergency Management continues to urge the community to observe safety measures, emphasizing that barricades are in place to steer traffic safely away from dangerous areas.

Amid these trying circumstances, the community is advised to heed Emergency Alert System (EAS), NOAA Weather Radio, or local alert systems for essential information and instructions. Rice County Public Health in collaboration with the MDH has issued advice to well owners, warning of the health risks associated with floodwater-contaminated private water wells. Further guidance on this matter can be found in a detailed guide provided by MDH regarding private wells and flooding. Residents and business owners who have encountered damage due to the flooding are encouraged to report it to Rice County Emergency Management for potential state or federal assistance consideration.

Looking ahead, the National Weather Service-Twin Cities has predicted additional rainfall, with possible storms that might introduce localized higher amounts. For those living along the Cannon River, vigilance is especially warranted as the river at Northfield is forecasted to crest soon. Current river gauge readings can be monitored through provided NOAA links. Emergency Management is set to give the next update later this afternoon, keeping the county informed as the situation progresses.