In Lake County, storm deemed worse than ‘blowdown’ of ’99Lake County Sheriff Carey Johnson said the heavy rain Tuesday and Wednesday left more of a mark on the county than the Fourth of July storm in 1999 that has since become known as the “blowdown.”
By: Mike Creger, Duluth News Tribune
Lake County Sheriff Carey Johnson said the heavy rain Tuesday and Wednesday left more of a mark on the county than the Fourth of July storm in 1999 that has since become known as the “blowdown.”
Nearly 24 hours of torrential rain swelled every waterway along the North Shore and left many roads closed due to water running over them or because they had breaches where everything was washed away.
Internet, phone and 911 service was out Wednesday morning. The same fiber line that was severed in early 2010 was damaged again near Knife River, knocking out all communication up the shore for several hours.
Scenic Highway 61 was closed Wednesday as several areas of roadway remained flooded from Larsmont to Knife River. That was the worst hit area north of Duluth, Johnson said. Five homes were searched and people evacuated, Johnson said, as the river rose to dangerous levels.
The Highway 61 Expressway was also closed for most of the day Wednesday as inspectors took a look at the bridge at Knife River for damage. Water threatened to top over the expressway there, Johnson said, but has receded and the road was expected to reopen once the bridge was deemed safe.
Bays on Lake Superior were hit hard. The temporary landing at Burlington Bay, set up last year during reconstruction of the landing in Agate Bay near downtown Two Harbors, was mostly eroded. Flood Bay up the shore was littered with debris, including whole trees on their way out to sea to meet others bobbing on the horizon.
Johnson said the biggest frustration of the day was the loss of communication. “We wanted to make sure people could get in touch with us,” he said.
The county patched service through other counties and used a standing policy of making sure emergency personnel were stationed at fire halls.