Residents Forced To Evacuate As Dam Faces ‘Imminent Failure,’ Threatening Minnesota City

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Micah Allen Contributor
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The Rapidan Dam was breached Monday, forcing citizens living in low-lying areas nearby to evacuate their homes.

Warnings were issued by authorities describing the dam as being in a state of “imminent failure” prior to its failure, according to The Mankato Free Press.

The Dam was built in the Blue Earth River in Blue Earth County, Minnesota, from 1908 to 1910, according to the Blue Earth County government website. Rapidan Township is the closest population center. Mankato’s population of over 45,000 people is threatened by the flooding, the Daily Mail reported. (RELATED: Trump Pulling Close To Even In Minnesota)

The breach was caused by torrential rains the area sustained in recent days combined with built-up debris in the river, as was reported by the Mankato Free Press.

Officials in the four counties most affected by this emergency released a statement prior to the declaration of ‘imminent failure’ of the dam, reassuring citizens that the anti-flood system built as a precaution to the dam failing would be able to withstand the floodwaters, according to the outlet.

Local authorities had ordered the construction of a levee system to protect populated areas, according to a City of North Mankato press release. The levee has reached a height of 34.6 feet and water levels had reached 28.92 feet as of this evening.

“City staff are continuing to monitor the river level and the status of the Rapidan Dam. If the Rapidan Dam does fail, engineers on-site predict an increase in the river levels of 6 inches to 2 ft, depending on location downstream,” the press release continues.

The failsafe was designed to protect against as high as 39.5 feet of water, the Mankato Free Press reported.

The National Weather Service issued a flash flood warning for the area which will last until 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, CBS News reported.

Citizens have begun to evacuate low-lying parts of Blue Earth County due to active flooding, according to News Nation. Residents throughout the area have reportedly been put on notice to be ready to evacuate by authorities.

No one can be forced to evacuate by local law enforcement, according to the Daily Mail. Such authority is reportedly left to the governor.