Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Flooding of Duluth, 2012

We are now parked in Duluth, pictured above with the Depot in the foreground. We were here last August, but decided to visit here again as it seemed a good stop on our path to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.  We had a big day planned today, seeing some places in town which we had not visited last year when we were here.  However, a big storm came through Duluth last night and dumped 8 inches of rain.  The storm sure made sleeping difficult, what with the wind rocking our home and the rain pouring in torrents on our roof.  The picture below gives you an idea what we saw this morning when we looked out our windows.
We turned on the television and received the news that some streets in Duluth have collapsed because of the heavy flow of water. All public buildings were closed for the day.  Now I have a greater appreciation for the warnings of flash floods.  It would have been dangerous for anyone to have been out on the streets of Duluth last night.  As you may notice in the first picture of this posting, Duluth is a hilly town. Torrents of water flowed down the hillsides last night, tore up sidewalks and created large holes in the streets.
 Once the water went down a bit, and it stopped raining, we stepped outside where we met up with the owner of the park where we reside. He had a pump going on the marina and a hose connected to it which was dumping the rainwater into Lake Superior.  He informed us that as far as he knows that last big rain amounted to 4 inches about 100 years ago. He added that in the past weeks Duluth has received rain of 2-3 inches several times and the ground is very saturated.  We drove into town hoping to find the Great Lakes Aquarium opened, or the Depot- but both were closed. We also had plans to see the zoo, but we were informed that the zoo was devastated by the flood and some animals killed. We parked near Fitger's Inn/Brewery and, after touring that building, we started to walk around downtown Duluth.  Until that time we certainly did not have a good grasp of the damage done to the city.  We could see where the heaviest streams of water had been;  leaving grass flattened, moving gravel, large rocks and mud onto sidewalks and streets. Pressure from underneath broke water mains and lifted up large sections of the roads.
We were told that the driver of the car ( which is pictured above) was in it early this morning when the car took a dive downwards.  Apparently he walked away from it unhurt and said he was leaving it as he had no insurance on the car. From what little John and I could see of the flood damage in Duluth it is understandable that the city is seeking state and federal funding to begin some of the major repairs to its infrastructure.

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