MnDOT official: I-35 in Duluth closed; Highway 61 near Silver Creek flooded; problems with erosion, mudslides in area...
Meteorologist Paul Huttner: 6-8 inches of rain in and around Duluth so far. It's a flash flood emergency. Another 1-2 inches rain possible.
DULUTH, Minn. — Major flooding in northeastern Minnesota has closed roads, Duluth City Hall and the University of Minnesota campus, and has authorities recommending emergency travel only.
The weather service reports that 7.7 inches of rain in 12 hours fell in one area. There's a break now, but more rain is in the forecast, perhaps as much as 1-3 more inches.
Duluth assistant fire chief Erik Simonson said 5 inches of rain fell in a short period of time in the city itself. Police are telling people not to travel.
Flooding has closed Interstate 35 and downtown tunnels in Duluth. The supervisor at the utilities department says manhole covers are getting blown off by the water pressure. Sinkholes are also appearing. Some of them are 10 feet wide, trapping cars and drivers. He says he's never seen anything like this. People are comparing conditions to a major flood in 1972.
Residents of the Fond du Lac neighborhood in Duluth are being asked to leave their homes because of the rising St. Louis River.
Fire crews have been out rescuing people, mostly from homes that are filling up with water and who can't evacuate themselves. Some cars are stuck in deep water. Emergency officials have been waiting until daylight to get a better sense of the damage.
Firefighters and police officers helped the Lake Superior Zoo staff track down animals that were unaccounted for, including a seal. Authorities say there's no evidence any of the animals left the zoo grounds in Duluth.
The University of Minnesota Duluth campus closed Wednesday because of the flooding. The Duluth News Tribune says the Carlton County Sheriff's Department also recommended against traveling, except for emergencies.
• I 35 northbound closed from Central Ave to 27th W and 5th W to London Road.
• I 35 southbound closed from 26th E to 5th W and 27th W to Central Avenue.
• Mall area: There is water over road in two locations but roads are open for now.
• Proctor - TH 2 closed in downtown Proctor - short detour in place.
• TH 23 closed south of Duluth. Exact location unknown due to mud slides. Cell phone coverage not working well. More details to follow.
• TH 210 closed in Jay Cooke Park due to slides and washouts.
• TH 61 closed at Knife River to the expressway.
From Eric Glen Meyer of Duluth on our Facebook page: "Miscalculating the size of a 'puddle' turned my car first into a boat, and shortly after: a silver island in a raging brown sea. Floating metal dumpsters banged against each other loudly as I waded to higher ground. Who expected to need flood insurance in Duluth?"
If you are in Duluth or the Duluth area, please add your comments to this live blog. Tell us what you are seeing.
Summary of the MPR News interview with an official from Lake Superior Zoo:
-Polar shores area – two seals escaped this morning (Vivian and Feisty) – they were relatively easily corralled – safe and in their holding area again. For a while there were rumors polar bear out in Duluth-not true - Berlin got out of its pen, was tranquilized, safe and secure in holding area.
-One seal was found on grand avenue – that was the first clue the zoo was flooding. That was at 3:30a this morning.
-There were concerns other animals escaped. All carnivores secure and accounted for. Polar shores are safe and secure accounted for.
-Barnyard got flooded – some unaccounted for- we experienced some animal loss. There are some exhibits can’t get to b/c of the flooding. No hard figures on number of deaths.