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Lac qui Parle County begins tally of flood damage

MADISON — Lac qui Parle County is among the first in the region to begin tallying up the costs of this spring's flooding.

A preliminary estimate places the costs to this point at $280,000, and that number is likely to rise, according to information from Blaine Johnson, emergency management director for the county.

The Lac qui Parle County Emergency Management Department completed the initial damage and impact assessment on Saturday for review by the Minnesota Homeland Security and Emergency Management, a division of the state Department of Public Safety.

The Lac qui Parle County office identified around $100,000 in county highway damages across 25 sections of roadway; $120,000 in township road damage across over 120 sections of roadway; and $60,000 encompassing city of Dawson, Emergency Management, Sheriff's Office, and other related pumping and staffing expenses.

"These are very early and conservative numbers, the end total will likely be higher. Due to continued high water conditions, actual damage to bridge decks, rail guards, culverts and bridge scouring cannot be accurately noted and included in the cost estimate until the waters recede," stated Johnson in a news release announcing the tally.

All rivers and tributaries have now crested and are in decline across Lac qui Parle County, according to Johnson. The Lac qui Parle River, West Branch, and Yellow Bank are all quickly moving back down into their banks, but remain high.

Johnson pointed out that the length of time the rivers were at flood stage was quite unusual, reflecting how much water was on the landscape.

"Luckily a perfect melt with no precipitation averted a possible major disaster. Many agree, if the melt had been quicker and we had even an inch of additional rain, the 1997 flood may have looked like a picnic," he added.

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