Area flooding: Roads closed, homes at risk in Bemidji, elsewhere

Beltrami County closed several roads Monday because of spring flooding. The Beltrami County Sheriff's Office advises motorists to use extreme caution while traveling the roads anywhere in western and northwestern Minnesota. Because of the heavy r...

Backyard lake
Joe and Belle Paulus' dog, Daisy, enjoyed the backyard lake at her owners' Pine Grove Street Southwest home. Heavy rain and runoff from a nearby field created a lake deep enough to run through their basement windows. Pioneer Photo/Monte Draper

Beltrami County closed several roads Monday because of spring flooding.

The Beltrami County Sheriff's Office advises motorists to use extreme caution while traveling the roads anywhere in western and northwestern Minnesota. Because of the heavy rains, frozen ground and massive amounts of snow melt, water over roads and filling ditches is common. In addition, roads are closed in many areas approaching the Minnesota/North Dakota border.

In Beltrami County, the following roads are closed:

-- County Road 301 near Lake Julia, west of Little Turtle Lake and south of the Old Long Lake Road intersection.

-- Lookout Tower Road Northeast (County Road 311) between the Scenic Highway (County Road 39) to Kile Road Northeast (County Road 328).


-- Werner Road Northwest from Grange Road Northwest (County Road 22) to the north half mile.

-- Bootleg Road Southwest in Grant Valley is almost totally under water.

-- Power Dam Road to Mill Street and Tyler Avenue has water over the road and no travel is advised.

Beltrami County Engineer Tyler Koos said crews are out steaming open ice-blocked culverts.

Flooding has caused problems throughout the area as many homeowners have battled flooding basements, or even homes.

A woman living on Blackduck Lake called the Beltrami County Sheriff's Office shortly after midnight Monday morning for assistance in keeping the approaching waters from her home.

The woman had a sump pump running, but the water from Blackduck Lake was quickly approaching the home, the Sheriff's Office said Monday afternoon.

The Sheriff's Office, Blackduck Fire Department and Blackduck Police Department responded to the scene.


"They looked at (the situation) to see what could be done," said Beryl Wernberg, the 911 communications supervisor/emergency management director for the Sheriff's Office.

Emergency responders quickly dug a trench that would keep the water away from the home, at least temporarily, Wernberg said. The Fire Department went out to find people who might have extra sump pumps or could assist.

Wernberg said she spoke with the woman Monday and she was doing well.

For those who may need sandbags (empty and unfilled) Beltrami County Sheriff's Office of Emergency Management has a supply for sale at a minimal cost of 5 cents each. Call 766-7087 or 333-8454. Arrangements can be made for citizens to pick up bags. Citizens are urged to call contractors who have heavy equipment to move dirt or make dikes around their homes.

Dave W. Konshok, Hubbard County Emergency Management director, also announced isolated over-ground flooding in Hubbard County, prompting two road closures and numerous caution zones.

Hubbard County Road 102 in Farden Township in northeastern Hubbard County along Bungashing Creek and County Road 94 in Section 24 of Lakeport Township near Benedict are both closed until further notice.

Konshok said in a press release that water over the road has been observed in many other areas of Hubbard County including U.S. Highway 71 near Two Inlets. He urged drivers to use caution and avoid driving on flooded roads when possible.

"Be especially cautious at night when it is harder to recognize dangers of flooding," he said. "If flash flooding is observed, act quickly. Move to higher ground to escape flood waters. Do not stay in areas subject to flooding when water begins rising."


Drivers should contact Minnesota 511, the Minnesota Department of Transportation roadway condition line, or visit for the latest road closure and detour information.

The Minnesota Department of Transportation reminds drivers to slow down and approach flooded areas with extreme caution, obeying all signing in posted areas.

State Highway 9 from Ada to Borup in MnDOT's Northwest District 2 is closed due to flooding.

Other highways with water over the road and warning signs posted are:

-- Highway 9 north of Ada.

-- Highway 9 south of Borup.

-- Highway 87 between Highway 71 and Highway 64.

-- Highway 92 north of Zerkel.


These highways are currently open, but rapidly changing conditions could call for closures.

Drivers should call 511 or visit for road condition information when traveling in the northwest area or any area of the state where potential flooding conditions exist.

Ann Avery of State Farm Insurance offered additional flood precautions:

-- Listen to radio or TV broadcasts for emergency information and evacuate immediately if told to do so.

-- Avoid flood waters, storm drains and sewers.

-- Move to higher ground or floors, even the roof if necessary.

-- Never walk or drive through rushing flood waters. Even six inches of moving water is dangerous.

-- Keep children and pets away from flood water.


-- Watch out for snakes and small animals that may seek shelter in your home.

-- Stay away from downed power and electrical wires since electrical currents pass easily through water.

-- Turn off all utilities at the main power switch and close the main gas valve if evacuation is necessary.

-- Never enter buildings surrounded by flood waters.

-- Before entering a flooded building, check for structural damage and do not use matches, cigarette lighters or any other open flames since gas may be trapped inside. Use a flashlight for light.

-- Throw out any food that may have come in contact with flood waters, even canned goods.

-- Have damaged septic tanks, cesspools, pits and leaching systems serviced as soon as possible.

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