Dayton issues state of emergency order for 46 countiesby Matt Sepic, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — Forty-six Minnesota counties expecting near-record flooding are now under a state of emergency.
The counties in the emergency order are along the Red, Crow, Minnesota and Mississippi rivers.
Gov. Mark Dayton issued the declaration Wednesday. It allows National Guard troops to be deployed in the affected areas and local officials to request other state aid.
Wade Setter, deputy director of Minnesota Homeland Security and Emergency Management, says the order also lays the groundwork for communities to have damage and flood-fighting expenses reimbursed.
"We'll evaluate the counties affected, we'll ask for their damages, and we'll make a determination over the next couple of weeks whether we qualify for federal reimbursement," Setter said. "And if it's appropriate, we'll recommend to Governor Dayton to request a presidential disaster declaration."
The declaration also allows National Guard troops to be deployed.
Colonel Dirk Kloss, director of Operations for the Minnesota National Guard, says Guard soldiers are on their way to Moorhead, as well as two smaller communities to the north.
"The missions that we will do are dike levee patrol and some quick reaction force to mitigate any breaches to those dikes," Kloss said.
Forecasters say the Red River will crest between 39 and 40 feet at Fargo-Moorhead on Sunday and Monday.
High water is predicted this weekend on the Minnesota, Mississippi and St. Croix rivers. The Minnesota Department of Transportation plans to close the Stillwater Lift Bridge Friday morning.
The countries in Dayton's order of a state of emergency are Aitkin, Becker, Benton, Big Stone, Blue Earth, Brown, Carver, Chippewa, Clay, Cottonwood, Dakota, Goodhue, Grant, Hennepin, Houston, Jackson, Kittson, Lac Qui Parle, Le Sueur, Lyon, Marshall, McLeod, Morrison, Nicollet, Norman, Otter Tail, Pennington, Polk, Ramsey, Redwood, Red Lake, Renville, Scott, Sibley, Stearns, Steele, Stevens, Swift, Todd, Traverse, Wabasha, Washington, Wilkin, Winona, Wright and Yellow Medicine. Also included are the Upper Sioux Agency and Prairie island Indian Community.
(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)