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Flooding prompts state of emergency declaration for Pine Island

A state of emergency was declared by the Goodhue County Board on Wednesday due to the flooding on June 28-29 in Pine Island.

The brief meeting was called because the county's threshold for the State Disaster Program exceeds $87,285.87.

Severe thunderstorms on June 28 brought 3 to 4 inches of rain to Pine Island. Dodge and Olmsted counties were hit harder, receiving about 7 inches of rain.

As Pine Island City Administrator David Todd pointed out, Pine Island might not have been hit with higher rainfall totals, but three forks of the Zumbro River converge in Pine Island.

Because of that, flooding is common place, but in his four years at city administrator, Todd said the flooding the city sustained this year was more prevalent than he's ever seen.

Todd said he's been involved with a state of emergency declaration while city administrator in Lanesboro in 2013, so he has some experience of how it works.

According to the National Weather Service, the middle fork of the Zumbro River that is located in Pine Island was more than 14 feet deep as of July 6.

Flooding has gone down significantly in the city within 48 hours, Todd said. Even Highway 52, which was shut down for a portion of time on June 28, was reopened the following day.

Todd said no one was injured or displaced as a result of the flooding as well.

Homes on the Olmsted County side of Pine Island were more affected. Approximately 60 homes were sandbagged between the two counties.

A major reason for the emergency declaration has to do with the damage sustained by the school district. The district's baseball, softball and football fields were severely flooded.

The benefit of being eligible for the State Disaster Fund program gives Pine Island a chance to only be responsible for 25 percent of the total cost of damages. The state will evaluate the damages to the city and school district and determine the eligibility was kind of funding is necessary, if any.

City property was not affected greatly, with just a portion of the Pine Island trail needing new blacktop.

Todd praised the work done by the city in their response to the flooding. Todd said the sentence to serve crew, fire department, civil defense and public works departments all stepped up, saying he couldn't have been prouder of the work that was done.

Matthew Lambert

Matthew Lambert joined the Red Wing Republican Eagle in March 2018 covering school board, public safety, and writing features. Lambert previously wrote for the Pierce County Herald and River Falls Journal. He is a graduate of Winona State University with a Bachelor's degree in Mass Communication: Journalism. 

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