Thursday, June 21, 2012

Willow River to Rutledge - HWY 61 in flood

While Duluth was getting its 8 inch rain storm, the Northern Pine County area was getting 4.  Duluth had devastating results and much worse than Pine County, but traveling by bike along hwy 61 today was a lesson in how disasters extend beyond the immediate storm.

As the waters up north move south, they find a land saturated by the late May and Early June rains with rivers swollen by the 4 inch rain.  Then the south flowing waters join the Kettle and the damage intensifies.

Moose Lake in Carlton County is closed - the Moosehorn flooded on both ends of town and further north Barnum has its bridges flooded over so Moose Lake is essentially an island.  The Moosehorn waters flowing south then build up the Kettle River and it meets its tributaries to make a dangerous and exciting scene.  It is both awful and beautiful.











The Kettle River swollen with the Moose Horn and other tributaries is the source of the water covering the town and when it meets other rivers - it is flowing up those rivers and raising their levels.  On Hwy 41 the river flow is almost 1/2 mile wide. 
The Willow River is up to the top of the dam, but actually it is the Kettle River water that has come upstream that matches the reservoir on the back side.  This is something we have never seen.  Most people think the Willow is rising, but nothing is going over the dam.
However even the small streams are flooding and homes away from the Willow and Kettle are suffering big expenses and big losses too. 




 In Rutledge the old railroad bridge is capturing the brunt of the water and saving the highway 61 bridge, but it could wash out with the currents and the ramming logs.   I talked to the police and they are putting up tape to close it.  It could be an awful disaster.  I should not have crossed, but I was on it when I felt its movement and buckling. Bike bridge on left, HWY on right.




Below the bridges there was extensive flooding in Rutledge too.



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