As the state prepares for what could be record flooding, Minnesota’s entire congressional delegation is pressing the Federal Emergency Management Agency to take immediate steps to facilitate a timely response to any flood damage. The delegation sent a letter to FEMA urging the agency to plan, prepare, and coordinate flood protection efforts in advance of the flooding. Forecasters from the National Weather Service are predicting major flooding for many of the state’s waterways this year. Last year’s flooding led to a disaster declaration by President Obama for 31 Minnesota counties.
The full text of the delegation’s letter:
March 15, 2011
The Honorable Craig Fugate
Federal Emergency Management Agency
500 C Street SW
Washington, DC 20472
Dear Administrator Fugate:
As Minnesota prepares for the potential for devastating flooding across much of the state this spring, we ask for your immediate assistance to plan, prepare, and coordinate flood protection efforts to facilitate FEMA’s timely response to any damage once the water recedes.
Last year, above average rainfall, an untimely melting of snow, and a steady stream of severe weather resulted in the Red River, the Minnesota River, and the Mississippi River reaching major flood stage and devastating communities across Minnesota. As a result, President Obama declared 31 counties in Minnesota as disaster areas resulting from the spring 2010 floods. Communities across these river valleys launched an unprecedented effort to protect homes, businesses and schools from record flooding. Residents acted heroically to protect not only their own homes, but the homes of their neighbors and community landmarks.
Unfortunately, the National Weather Service’s most recent outlook for spring shows that regions across Minnesota are again facing the strong possibility of major flood events. Specifically, there is a 50 percent chance that the Red River of the North in Moorhead-Fargo will rise to 38.8 feet, and a 20 percent chance the River will rise to 41.9 feet, which is over one foot higher than the 2009 historical event. Further north, East Grand Forks-Grand Forks has a 50 percent chance that the Red River will rise to 50.4 feet, which is five feet higher than last year. Along the Mississippi River, the latest projects show at least a 50 percent likelihood that the water will rise significantly above last year’s level in Aitkin, St. Cloud, and St. Paul. Communities along the Minnesota River are also preparing for rising water with a 50 percent chance that the water reaches nearly the same levels as last year near New Ulm, Mankato and Jordan. These same communities devastated by last year’s flooding are now preparing for yet another flood event.
Thank for your consideration of our request. These communities need and deserve the attention of our federal agencies.