Weather Forecast


Wadena County declares emergency; 48,000 sandbags on the way

The Leaf River has flooded and nearly overtaken the west lane of U.S. Highway 71 just north of Wadena. The floodwater has a frozen crust with below freezing temperatures Thursday.

The Wadena County Board declared a state of emergency due to flooding and ordered an additional 48,000 sandbags at an emergency meeting Thursday.

"We've got significant flooding along [the] Crow Wing River threatening and or in homes already," said Emergency Manager Scott McKellep.

Two businesses that he knows of, including Wahoo Valley, have experienced flooding along with a residence, McKellep said.

The reason for declaring a state of emergency is so the county can join with several other counties also declaring emergencies and be eligible for possible funds.

The county had limited sandbags on hand, McKellep said about the county's estimated 4,000 supply. "We're at or near the end of those," he said.

A deputy truck is on the way to the Twin Cities to pick up the additional sandbags, which cost 20 cents each, McKellep said. He is also asking the county to authorize the use of county sand to fill the bags. It sounds like there will be enough volunteer labor to do the work, he said.

Commissioner Bill Stearns asked if there was county sand available. There might only be a sand and salt mix.

McKellep said he hadn't checked with the county's highway engineer yet. He knows some counties have resorted to using their sand and salt mix, but he doesn't recommend that.

Carr said they would keep commissioners abreast about any additional supplies that might be needed.

A number of roads in the county are underwater, said Sheriff Mike Carr.

"A lot of people, when they call our office, depend on our assistance," Carr said. "They're looking for our help."

This is the second time in 12 years this kind of flooding has occurred in Wadena County, he said.

The dispatch office in the sheriff's department is tracking closed roads with a red marker on a county map to assist drivers.

The impassable roads and bridges are spread at all over the county, but the area where several rivers meet in Wing River and Bullard townships is the worst hit, according to jailer/ dispatchers Dennis Martin and Harry Johnson.

Carr said the state is keeping on eye on U.S. Highway 71, which it considered closing Wednesday night due to high water levels on each side of the road. The water has gone down a bit since then, he said.

A list of impassible roads and bridges from the past several days includes:

March 23

• CR 141 (109th Ave.) one half mile south of CSAH 13

• CR 145 (243rd Ave.) one mile northwest of CSAH 18 north of Nimrod

• CR 118 around CR 10 to North Germany Hall

• 260th St. from U.S. Highway 71 to CSAH 23

• 151st Ave. around State Highway 227 to CR 163

• 310th St. west of U.S. Highway 71 and West of 119th Ave.

• 119th Ave. south of 310th St.

March 24

• 159th Ave. at 310th St.

• 181st Ave. one-half mile south of 220th St.

• 204th St. at 211th Ave. Intersection

March 25

• 220th St. between 211th Ave. and 205th Ave.

• CSAH 26 at 182nd St.

• CSAH 7 west of 221st Ave.

• 211th north of CSAH 7

• 9 mile bridge closed

• CSAH 26 closed at Leaf River and Red Eye River

• 180th St. at intersection of 181st Ave.

• 180th St. west of CR 66