Home by Rapidan Dam collapses into southern Minnesota river


Important Takeaways:

  • The raging Blue Earth River, which caused an abutment of the 114-year-old Rapidan Dam to partially fail, has now swallowed most of the iconic home that sits on a nearby embankment amid Minnesota’s historic flooding.
  • A nearby store could likely be next, according to the owners.
  • Blue Earth County officials say the collapse occurred on Tuesday evening and they continue to monitor for possible impacts downstream.
  • The river is expected to drop up to 5 feet by Friday. Officials say it’s still cutting away quickly.
  • “It’s very close to the house. We had to evacuate this morning, get as much as we could out. All the freezers and such,” Barnes said. “It’s my childhood. I grew up in the house, I grew up in the dam store. I’ve been there all my life.”
  • “My family is sitting here waiting for their history to be washed away minute by minute,” said Shannon Whittet, whose uncle Jim Hruska bought the store in 1972. “My family has lost their home, they’ve lost their business, their livelihood and their land will be gone. This isn’t a simple situation of something happened, and we will rebuild. The land will be the last thing. And it will be gone.”

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A breached dam outside Mankato Minnesota is in “imminent failure condition.”


Important Takeaways:

  • Minnesota dam at risk of total failure amid “historic” flooding
  • Threat level: Recent heavy rain, including a foot-and-a-half in southern Minnesota, has already closed roads, caused serious damage, and left some communities under feet of water.
  • The latest: Blue Earth County officials warned Monday that a breached dam outside Mankato is in “imminent failure condition.”
  • Those alarms came as the state deployed 46 National Guard soldiers to Waterville in Le Sueur County in response to what local officials say is the worst flooding in its history.
  • By the numbers: The governor said while the $26.4 million currently in the account is “probably not” enough to cover the damages, the federal aid that would flow from a disaster declaration could help fill the gap.
  • Another $50 million is already set to be transferred to the account in August, per KARE 11.

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Mayfield Kentucky areas impacted by 2021 tornado now grappling with flood damage

Mayfield Flooding

Matthew 24:7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places.

Important Takeaways:

  • In Mayfield, a community still working to recover after it was struck by a deadly tornado in 2021 was dealt a blow on Wednesday because of historic flooding there and elsewhere in west Kentucky.
  • “Mayfield, stay strong. We’ve got through the tornado; we’re gonna’ get through the flood. Just keep on. Keep God first.”

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Japan PM visits flood disaster zone, promises help as new warnings issued

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe meets local residents staying at an evacuation center in Kurashiki, Okayama Prefecture, Japan, in this photo taken by Kyodo July 11, 2018. Mandatory credit Kyodo/via REUTERS

By Kiyoshi Takenaka and Issei Kato

KUMANO, Japan (Reuters) – Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited flood-stricken parts of Japan on Wednesday as the death toll from the worst weather disaster in 36 years reached 176 and health concerns rose amid scorching heat and the threat of new floods.

Torrential rain caused floods and triggered landslides in western Japan last week, bringing death and destruction to neighborhoods built decades ago near steep mountain slopes.

At least 176 people were killed, the government said, with dozens missing in Japan’s worst weather disaster since 1982.

Rescue workers and Japan Self-Defense Force soldiers search for missing people at a landslide site caused by a heavy rain in Kumano Town, Hiroshima Prefecture, western Japan, July 11, 2018. REUTERS/Issei Kato

In Kumano, a mountainside community in Hiroshima prefecture that was hit by a landslide last week, Ken Kirioka anxiously watched rescuers toiling through mud, sand and smashed houses to find the missing, including his 76-year-old father, Katsuharu.

“He is old and has a heart condition. I prepared myself for the worst when I heard about the landslide on Friday night,” he said, pointing at a pile of mud and rubble where he said his father was buried.

“He is an old-fashioned father who is hard-headed and does not talk much,” Kirioka said, adding he would stay until his father was found. “It would be too bad for him if a family member were not around”.

Rescuers working under a scorching sun combed through heaps of wood and thickly caked mud in a search for bodies, helped by sniffer dogs. In some cases only the foundation of homes remained as they cut through debris with chain saws.

With temperatures of 33 degrees Celsius (91 degrees Fahrenheit) or higher in the devastated areas in Okayama and Hiroshima prefectures, attention turned to preventing heat-stroke among rescue workers and in evacuation centers where thousands of people have sought shelter.

People sat on thin mats on a gymnasium floor in one center, plastic bags of belongings piled around them and bedding folded off to the side. Portable fans turned slowly as children cried.

A family member of missing people watches search and rescue operations at a landslide site caused by a heavy rain in Kumano Town, Hiroshima Prefecture, western Japan, July 11, 2018. REUTERS/Issei Kato

A family member of missing people watches search and rescue operations at a landslide site caused by a heavy rain in Kumano Town, Hiroshima Prefecture, western Japan, July 11, 2018. REUTERS/Issei Kato


Abe, who canceled an overseas trip to deal with the disaster, was criticized after a photograph posted on Twitter showed Abe and his defense minister at a party with lawmakers just as the rains intensified.

After observing the damage from a helicopter flying over Okayama, one of the hardest-hit areas, Abe visited a crowded evacuation center. He crouched down on the floor to speak with people, many of them elderly, and asked about their health. He clasped one man’s hands as they spoke.

Later he told reporters the government would do everything it could to help the survivors.

“We’ll cut through all the bureaucracy to secure the goods people need for their lives, to improve life in the evacuation centers – such as air conditioners as the hot days continue – and then secure temporary housing and the other things people need to rebuild their lives,” he said.

Abe is up for re-election as party leader in September and has seen his popularity ratings edge back up after taking a hit over a cronyism scandal earlier this year.

His government pledged an initial $4 billion toward recovery on Tuesday, and a later special budget if needed.

Officials turned to social media to warn of the additional danger of food-borne illnesses, urging people to wash their hands and take other measures against food poisoning.

Evacuation orders were issued for 25 households in the city of Fukuyama after cracks were found in a reservoir.

Water accumulating behind piles of debris blocking rivers also posed a danger after a swollen river rushed into a Fukuyama residential area on Monday, prompting more evacuation orders.

The intensifying heat was expected to trigger thunderstorms on Wednesday, with authorities warning new landslides could be set off on mountainsides saturated with water.

Japanese media on Wednesday focused on the timing of evacuation orders issued in the hard-hit Mabi district of Kurashiki city just minutes before a levee broke and water poured into the residential area.

A number of the dead in Mabi were found in their homes, suggesting they did not have enough time to flee, media reports said.

(Additional reporting by Ritsuko Ando and Hideyuki Sano; Writing by Elaine Lies; Editing by Paul Tait and Darren Schuettler)

Japan struggles to get help to victims of worst floods in decades

Local residents take rest at Okada elementary school acting as an evacuation center in Mabi town in Kurashiki, Okayama Prefecture, Japan, July 10, 2018. REUTERS/Issei Kato

By Kiyoshi Takenaka and Issei Kato

KURASHIKI, Japan (Reuters) – Japan struggled on Tuesday to restore utilities after its worst weather disaster in 36 years killed at least 155 people, with survivors facing health risks from broiling temperatures and a lack of water, while rescuers kept up a grim search for victims.

A local resident walks in a flooded area in Mabi town in Kurashiki, Okayama Prefecture, Japan, July 10, 2018. REUTERS/Issei Kato

A local resident walks in a flooded area in Mabi town in Kurashiki, Okayama Prefecture, Japan, July 10, 2018. REUTERS/Issei Kato

Torrential rain unleashed floods and landslides in western Japan last week, bringing death and destruction, especially to neighborhoods built decades ago near steep slopes. About 67 people are missing, the government said.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has canceled an overseas trip to cope with the disaster, which at one point forced several million from their homes.

The premier faced some criticism after a photograph made the rounds on Twitter showing him and the defense minister at a dinner with lawmakers last Thursday, just as the rain was worsening.

Abe has seen his support rates rebound after slumping over a suspected cronyism scandal and is keen to prevent any declines ahead of a ruling-party leadership race in September.

Power had been restored to all but 3,500 households but more than 200,000 people remain without water under scorching sun, with temperatures hitting 33 Celsius (91 Fahrenheit) in some of the hardest-hit areas, such as the city of Kurashiki.

“There have been requests for setting up air-conditioners due to rising temperatures above 30 degrees today, and at the same time we need to restore lifelines,” Finance Minister Taro Aso told reporters after a cabinet meeting.

Employees of a supermarket push trolleys and shelves, with muddy items, at their store in a flooded area in Mabi town in Kurashiki, Okayama Prefecture, Japan, July 9, 2018. REUTERS/Issei Kato

Employees of a supermarket push trolleys and shelves, with muddy items, at their store in a flooded area in Mabi town in Kurashiki, Okayama Prefecture, Japan, July 9, 2018. REUTERS/Issei Kato

Roads caked in dried mud threw up clouds of dust when rescue vehicles or other cars drove by.

Stunned survivors recounted narrow escapes.

“It was close. If we had been five minutes later, we would not have made it,” said Yusuke Suwa, who fled by car with his wife early on Saturday when an evacuation order came after midnight.

“It was dark and we could not see clearly what was happening, although we knew water was running outside. We did not realize it was becoming such a big deal.”

A quarter of flood-prone Mabi district of Kurashiki, sandwiched between two rivers, was inundated after a levee crumbled under the force of the torrent.

The government has set aside 70 billion yen ($631 million) in infrastructure funds with 350 billion yen ($3.15 billion) in reserve, Aso said, adding that an extra budget would be considered if needed.

“When necessary amounts firm up … we would consider an extra budget later on if these funds prove insufficient.”

Japan issues weather warnings early, but its dense population means that almost every bit of usable land, including some flood plains, is built on in the mostly mountainous country, leaving it prone to disasters.

A local resident pauses as he tries to clean debris at a flood affected area in Mabi town in Kurashiki, Okayama Prefecture, Japan, July 10, 2018. REUTERS/Issei Kato

A local resident pauses as he tries to clean debris at a flood affected area in Mabi town in Kurashiki, Okayama Prefecture, Japan, July 10, 2018. REUTERS/Issei Kato


Some residents of Mabi had shrugged off the warnings given the area’s history of floods.

“We had evacuation orders before and nothing happened, so I just thought this was going to be the same,” said Kenji Ishii, 57, who stayed at home with his wife and son.

But they were soon marooned by rising flood waters and a military boat had to pluck them from the second floor of their house, where they had taken refuge.

Hundreds of residents of Mabi were taking refuge in a school on high ground.

“Everything was destroyed and both of our cars were totaled as well,” said a woman in her forties, who was taking shelter in the gym with her brother and parents.

“We don’t know how long we’re allowed to stay here. Finding a place to live in, even if it’s temporary, is our top priority.”

Most of the deaths in hard-hit Hiroshima were from landslides in areas where homes had been built up against steep slopes, beginning in the 1970s, said Takashi Tsuchida, a civil engineering professor at Hiroshima University.

“People have been living for 40 to 50 years in an area that had latent risk, but decades went by without disaster,” he said.

“But intense rainfall has become more frequent, and the hidden vulnerability has become apparent,” he said.

Though the weather has cleared up, the disaster goes on.

A new evacuation order went out on Tuesday in a part of Hiroshima after a river blocked by debris overflowed its banks, affecting 23,000 people.

Another storm, Typhoon Maria, was bearing down on outlying islands in the Okinawa chain but it had weakened from a super-typhoon and was not expected to have any impact on Japan’s four main islands.

(Additional reporting by Tetsushi Kajimoto and Linda Sieg; Writing by Elaine Lies; Editing by Clarence Fernandez, Robert Birsel)

West Virginia’s worst flooding in a century kills 24

Emergency crews take out boats on a flooded I-79 at the Clendenin Exit, after the state was pummeled by up to 10 inches of rain on Thursday, causing rivers and streams to overflow into neighboring communities, in Kanawha County, West Virginia, June 24, 2016.

By David Bailey

(Reuters) – West Virginia’s three most devastated counties and possibly others will receive federal assistance after the state’s worst flooding in more than a century killed at least 24 people, officials said on Saturday.

President Barack Obama declared a major disaster for West Virginia and ordered federal aid to affected individuals in Kanawha, Greenbrier and Nicholas counties that could include grants for temporary housing, repairs and other programs.

Obama spoke with West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin on Saturday afternoon to give his condolences and make sure the governor has the federal resources he needs, White House spokesman Eric Schultz said.

West Virginia’s death toll from flooding is the highest for any U.S. state this year, with 16 deaths reported in Greenbrier County in southeast West Virginia, where the heaviest rain fell, and six in Kanahwa County, officials said.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency and state officials were assessing damage in at least six other counties and the state may ask for additional assistance, Tomblin said. Ohio and Jackson counties also reported one death each.

The death toll in West Virginia is the highest in any state from flooding this year. At least 16 people, including nine U.S. soldiers, were killed in flooding in Texas earlier in June.

Up to 10 inches (25.4 cm) of rain fell on Thursday in the mountainous state, sending torrents of water from rivers and streams through homes and causing widespread devastation.

Tomblin has declared a state of emergency in 44 of 55 counties and expects 400 members of the West Virginia National Guard to help rescue efforts on Saturday. About 32,000 homes and businesses remained without power on Saturday.

Hundreds of people have been rescued and search and rescue teams were looking for more people on Saturday, said Tim Rock, spokesman for the state Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management.

Some towns were completely surrounded by water and hundreds of houses and buildings have been lost, Rock said.

The Greenbrier resort was closed indefinitely and PGA Tour officials said on Saturday the Greenbrier Classic golf tournament due to begin on July 7 had been canceled because of extensive flood damage.

West Virginia received one-quarter of its annual rainfall in a single day and multiple rivers surged to dangerous levels, including the Elk River, which broke a record at one stage that had stood since 1888.

(Reporting by David Bailey in Minneapolis and Jon Herskovitz in Austin, Texas; Editing by David Gregorio and Tom Brown)

Historic Floods Continue to Devastate Missouri, United States

Significant portions of the United States remained under flood warnings on Wednesday morning as the fallout from a powerful storm system left their communities waterlogged.

The National Weather Service issued flood warnings in at least 18 states in the Gulf Coast, Atlantic Coast and Ohio Valley. Most of the warnings were concentrated in Illinois, Missouri and Oklahoma, three of the states that received the highest rainfall totals during the recent storm.

According to the National Weather Service, the storm dropped six to 12 inches of rain across those three states and northwest Arkansas, where additional flood warnings were in effect.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said 379 river gauges across the country were in flood stage Wednesday morning, including 48 that reported “major flooding.” Those were down from Tuesday’s respective totals of 438 and 53, but that decline likely provided little relief to the regions that were still underwater, or where floodwaters were expected to rise.

Those river gauges don’t necessarily include lakes or other smaller bodies of water, like creeks or streams, that were also flooding. The rivers alone reached historic levels in several communities.

According to the NOAA, the Meramec River, which runs just south of Saint Louis, had already surpassed its record crests in two different locations on Wednesday morning. That included a whopping 45.33-foot total near Eureka, which was about 2.5 feet above a 33-year-old record and more than 25 feet above the threshold for what the NOAA considers to be major flooding. The waters were expected to continue to rise, reaching an all-time high of 46.2 feet later Wednesday.

Those rising waters were also forcing some mandatory evacuations and road closures.

City officials in Valley Park, Missouri, ordered residents to leave their homes and seek higher ground as the Meramec River reached 40 feet, according to the city’s Facebook page. The Missouri Department of Transportation shut down a 20-mile stretch of Interstate 44 near St. Louis because of flooding, according to a news release. That road is expected to be closed several days.

The National Weather Service reported that Union, Missouri, received more than a foot of rain in the storm. According to the NOAA, the Bourbeuse River reached a historic height of 34.31 feet on Tuesday before receding to 29.3 feet on Wednesday morning. Still, that was three feet above the threshold for major flooding in the city, located some 55 miles southwest of Saint Louis.

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon has declared a state of emergency and activated the National Guard, according to a news release from his office. The National Guard will assist evacuation efforts, as well as ensure traffic stays away from the numerous closed roads. Floods have killed 13 people in the state alone, according to the governor’s office, 12 of whom died when rushing waters swept vehicles off roads. St. Louis County officials also declared a countywide state of emergency, writing in a news release that the waters trapped people in businesses and homes.

Some locations along the Mississippi River were also expected to see record flooding, according to the NOAA. But even in areas where records weren’t broken, the waters were still very high.

The NOAA indicated there was major flooding along several rivers in Illinois, Missouri, Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas. Minor or moderate flooding was occurring in parts of the southeast.