Notices & Updates

A survey designed for Itasca County area residents to share their voice about what does or does not make our communities welcoming. 

FLOODING AND FLASH FLOODS

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If you are seeking the latest information on Spring Flooding, visit our dedicated webpage. Click here to be directed to that page.

Nationally, floods claim nearly 200 lives each year, force 300,000 people from their homes, and result in property damage in excess of $2 billion. In 2019, six out of the nine state and federally-declared disasters in Minnesota involved some sort of flooding.

About 75 percent of flash-flood deaths occur at night. Half of the victims die in automobiles or other vehicles. Many deaths occur when people drive around road barricades that clearly indicate that the road is washed out ahead.

For extensive information, resources and data about flooding in the U.S. from the National Weather Service (NWS) download the NWS Information book: Floods, The Awesome Power or visit the NWS Flood Safety website.

General Flood Preparedness

 

Before a Flood

Spring and summer rainfalls can be heavy and can produce flash floods in a matter of hours. However,  there are a few common sense preparations everyone can take to reduce their risks from harm and property destruction. The following lists a few steps everyone can take to prepare for any type of flood emergency:

  1. Assemble an emergency supply kit that includes enough provisions for you and your family to live on for a minimum of three days.
  2. Make an emergency plan for you and your family and share it with them.
    Learn about the emergency plans that have been established in your area by your state and local government.
  3. Get a NOAA Weather Radio. Listen for information and warnings.
  4. Elevate appliances such as the furnace, water heater and electric panel in your home if you live in an area that has a high flood risk. 
  5. Consider installing "check valves" to prevent flood water from backing up into the drains of your home. As a last resort, use large corks or stoppers to plug showers, tubs, or basins. 
  6. If feasible, construct barriers to stop floodwater from entering the building and seal walls in basements with waterproofing compounds. 
  7. Get Flood Insurance. Property insurance does not typically cover flood damage. Talk to your insurance provider about your policy and consider if you need additional coverage. You may also want to learn about the National Flood Insurance Program at www.FloodSmart.gov

Review this Flood Safety Checklist for more ways to prepare and protect your home

The Minnesota Dept. of Natural Resources also offers extensive information about flood plain management, flood safety and preparedness, mitigation and the National Flood Insurance Program.

Driving Safety

  • Six inches of water will reach the bottom of most passenger cars causing loss of control and possible stalling.
  • A foot of water will float many vehicles.
  • Two feet of rushing water can carry away most vehicles including sport utility vehicles (SUV’s) and pick-ups.

 

What to do in a Flash Flood

Flash floods occur within six hours of the beginning of heavy rainfall. Below are some guidelines for keeping safe during a flash flood:

  • Be prepared to evacuate and go to high ground immediately.
  • Get out of areas subject to flooding, such as low spots, canyons, washes, etc.
  • Do not attempt to cross a flowing stream on fo​ot. Even water only six inches deep, when moving at a high rate of speed, can knock you off your feet.
  • Never drive through flooded areas or standing water. Shallow, swiftly flowing water can wash a car from a roadway. Also, the roadbed may not be intact under the water.
  • If the vehicle stalls, abandon it immediately and seek higher ground. Rapidly rising water may engulf the vehicle and its occupants.
  • Be especially cautious at night when it’s harder to recognize flood dangers.
  • Do not camp or park your vehicle along streams and washes, particularly during threatening conditions.
  • Understand the difference between a Flash Flood Watch and a Flash Flood Warning

 

Know the Terms

​Flash Flood Watch

Flash Flood Warning​

Flooding is possible. Tune in to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio, or television for information​

Flooding is occurring or will occur soon; if advised to evacuate, do so immediately.​

Related Resources

Are you Ready? Review this Flood Safety checklist from the Red Cross.

The University of Minnesota Extension has an extensive library of disaster preparedness, response and recovery resources. This website has fact sheets, pages, guidebooks and videos with research-based tips on immediate and long-term flood issues.

For questions about water, crops, horticulture, and climatology issues call the UMN Flood Information Hotline at 1-800-232-9077, or email at  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

For information about getting flood insurance go to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).

 

TORNADO SAFETY INFORMATION

What To Do During a Tornado

Tornado Safety Tips from the National Weather Service

In a House With a Basement

Avoid windows. Get in the basement and under some kind of sturdy protection (heavy table or work bench), or cover yourself with a mattress or sleeping bag. Know where very heavy objects rest on the floor above (pianos, refrigerators, waterbeds, etc.) and do not go under them. They may fall down through a weakened floor and crush you.

 

In a House With No Basement 

Avoid windows. Go to the lowest floor, small center room (like a bathroom or closet), under a stairwell, or in an interior hallway with no windows. Crouch as low as possible to the floor, facing down; and cover your head with your hands. A bath tub may offer a shell of partial protection. Even in an interior room, you should cover yourself with some sort of thick padding (mattress, blankets, etc.), to protect against falling debris in case the roof and ceiling fail.

 

In an Apartment, Dorm or Condo

If you live in an apartment that is on an upper floor, get to the lowest level of the building that you can immediately. This could be an underground parking garage or a neighbor’s first floor apartment. Then move to the most interior area possible, away from windows. ​

If you live in a high-rise apartment building, you may not have enough time to get to a lower level, so picking a place in the hallway in the center of your building is the best idea such as a stairwell. If that is not available then a closet, bathroom or interior hall without windows is the safest spot in your apartment during a tornado. Power loss during a tornado storm is common, so avoid elevators and keep a flashlight handy.

In an Office Building, Hospital or Store

Follow instructions from facility managers. Go directly to an enclosed, windowless area in the center of the building -- away from glass and on the lowest floor possible. Then, crouch down and cover your head. Interior stairwells are usually good places to take shelter, and if not crowded, allow you to get to a lower level quickly. Stay off the elevators; you could be trapped in them if the power is lost.

 

In a Mobile Home

Get out! Even if your home is tied down, you are probably safer outside, even if the only alternative is to seek shelter out in the open. Most tornadoes can destroy even tied-down mobile homes; and it is best not to play the low odds that yours will make it. If your community has a tornado shelter, go there fast. If there is a sturdy permanent building within easy running distance, seek shelter there. Otherwise, lie flat on low ground away from your home, protecting your head. If possible, use open ground away from trees and cars, which can be blown onto you.  

 

At a School

Follow the drill! Go to the interior hall or room in an orderly way as you are told. Crouch low, head down, and protect the back of your head with your arms. Stay away from windows and large open rooms like gyms and auditoriums.

 

In a Car or Truck

Vehicles are extremely dangerous in a tornado. If the tornado is visible, far away, and the traffic is light, you may be able to drive away from its path by moving at right angles to the tornado. Otherwise, park the car as quickly and safely as possible -- out of the traffic lanes. ​Avoid seeking shelter under bridges, which can accelerate the wind while offering little protection against flying debris.

 

In The Open Outdoors

If possible, seek shelter in a sturdy building. If not, lie flat and face-down on low ground, protecting the back of your head with your arms. Get as far away from trees and cars as you can; they may be blown onto you in a tornado.  

 

In a Shopping Mall, Large Store or Stadium

Listen for instructions from building security. Watch for others. Move as quickly as possible to an interior bathroom, storage room or other small enclosed area, away from windows. Move away from any glass.

 

In a Church or Theater

If possible, move quickly but orderly to an interior bathroom or hallway, away from windows. Crouch face-down and protect your head with your arms. If there is no time to do that, get under the seats or pews, protecting your head with your arms or hands.

Tornado Safety Fact Sheet

Thunderstorms affect relatively small areas, compared with most other storms. The typical thunderstorm is 15 miles in diameter and lasts for 30 minutes — but whatever their size, all thunderstorms are dangerous.

Severe thunderstorms produce large hail or winds of at least 58 mph. Some wind gusts can exceed 100 mph and produce tornado-like damage. That’s why many communities will sound their outdoor sirens for damaging straight-line winds.

When a severe thunderstorm threatens, stay inside a strong structure. Mobile home occupants should go to a more permanent structure. 

Thunderstorm Winds

 

Thunderstorms can produce straight-line winds that exceed 100 miles per hour. For this reason you should treat severe thunderstorms just as you would tornadoes. Move to an appropriate shelter if you are in the path of the storm.

The strong rush of wind from a thunderstorm is called a downburst. The primary cause is rain-cooled air that accelerates downward, producing potentially damaging gusts of wind.

Strong downbursts can be mistaken for tornadoes, and they're often accompanied by a roaring sound similar to that of a tornado. Downbursts can easily overturn mobile homes, tear roofs off houses and topple trees. Campers are especially vulnerable because trees can fall into campsites and onto tents.

NWS Guidebook on Thunderstorms, Tornadoes and Lightning

Damage from severe wind accounts for half of all weather damage reports in the lower 48 states and is more common than damage from tornadoes. These winds are often called "straight-line" winds to differentiate their damage from tornado damage. Damaging winds are classified as those exceeding 50-60 mph.

More information about damaging winds from the National Weather Service.

Threat definitions of damaging winds (National Severe Storms Laboratory)

Hail

Hail is product of thunderstorms that causes nearly $1 billion in damage every year. Most hail is about pea-sized. Much of it is the size of baseballs, and it can reach grapefruit-size. Large hail stones fall faster than 100 mph and have been known to kill people.

More information about hail.

Lightning

Every thunderstorm produces lightning!

Lightning kills an average of 43​ Americans each year. Hundreds more are severely injured.

Lightning Safety Tips

  • NO PLACE outside is safe when thunderstorms are in the area!
  • If you hear thunder, lightning is close enough to strike you.
  • When you hear thunder, immediately move to safe shelter: a substantial building with electricity or plumbing or an enclosed, metal-topped vehicle with windows up.
  • Stay in safe shelter at least 30 minutes after you hear the last sound of thunder.

 

Indoor Lightning Safety

  • Stay off corded phones, computers and other electrical equipment that put you in direct contact with electricity.
  • Avoid plumbing, including sinks, baths and faucets.
  • Stay away from windows and doors, and stay off porches.
  • Do not lie on concrete floors, and do not lean against concrete walls.

 

Last Resort Outdoor Risk Reduction Tips

If you are caught outside with no safe shelter anywhere nearby the following actions may reduce your risk:

  • Immediately get off elevated areas such as hills, mountain ridges or peaks
  • Never lie flat on the ground
  • Never shelter under an isolated tree
  • Never use a cliff or rocky overhang for shelter
  • Immediately get out and away from ponds, lakes and other bodies of water
  • Stay away from objects that conduct electricity (barbed wire fences, power lines, windmills, etc.)

For more information about lightning safety, please visit the National Weather Service Lightning Safety webpage.

Lightning Safety for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Community

We all know that "When thunder roars, go indoors." But what if you can't hear the thunder? That's why meteorologists created a new slogan that would be more inclusive of the deaf and hard of hearing community. As a result, "See a flash, dash inside" is now used in conjunction with the original slogan above.View this public service announcement on lightning safety for the deaf and hard of hearing.

Statewide Tornado Drill will be Thursday at 1:30 pm and 6:30 pm.

 

Here is the most-visited SWAW-related web pages:

John Linder

 

Itasca County Emergency Manager Coordinator

Itasca County Sheriff’s Emergency Communication Center

 

1500 SE 7th Avenue  Ste #100

Grand Rapids MN 55744

 

Office:  218-327-7483

Mobile:  218-244-6952

 

 

 

 

 

Male Bull Dog found in LaPrairie - contact 218-259-5649 for more information!

 

The Monday, August 16, 2021
City Council Meeting is

CANCELLED


NEXT MEETING

City Council Meeting is on
Monday, August 23, 2021 at
6:00 p.m.

Construction on Hwy 2 from the Prairie River east of Grand Rapids to two miles east of Hwy 65 in Itasca County will continue with a detour change on August 4. Hwy 2 will now be closed between the Prairie River east of Grand Rapids to two miles east of Swan River. The new Hwy 2 detour for local access will utilize Itasca County Rd 3 between Grand Rapids and Jacobson and Hwy 200 between Jacobson and the junction of Hwy 2 East of Swan River. 

Hwy 2 between Hwy 65 in Swan River and the east junction of Hwy 200 will no longer be open and will be closed to through traffic.  The truck detour will also utilize Hwy 169 South of Grand Rapids and Hwy 200 between Hill City and Hwy 2 east of Jacobson.

Local traffic will be able to access businesses and properties in the construction zone, but through traffic will need to take the detour. For maps and more information, please visit: http://www.dot.state.mn.us/d1/projects/hwy2-reclaim/index.html

Important reminders for motorists regarding work zone safety:

  • Slow down when approaching every work zone, then navigate through with care and caution.
  • Stay alert; work zones constantly change.
  • Watch for workers and slow moving equipment.
  • Obey posted speed limits. Fine for a violation in a work zone is $300.
  • Minimize distractions behind the wheel.
  • Be patient; expect delays, especially during peak travel times.

For more information on projects in northeast Minnesota, follow us on Facebook at https://facebook.com/groups/MnDOTnortheast and Twitter at @mndotnortheast. For real-time traffic and travel information in Minnesota, visit www.511mn.org.

The City has installed the New Scott Olson Memorial Bench.