Rapidan Dam breached by floodwaters in southern Minnesota; nearby residents were warned to potentially evacuate

RAPIDAN TOWNSHIP, Minnesota. Flood on the Blue Earth River ruptured the Rapidan Dam Monday morning and it is now in a “state of imminent failure,” officials said.

Le Sueur County residents in low-lying areas of the Minnesota River Valley are advised to closely monitor the situation and possibly evacuate, according to the county’s emergency management office. The agency initially said the dam had failed, but later updated that the dam had failed.

The National Weather Service has issued a flash flood warning for downstream areas until 4:30 p.m.

The Blue Earth County Sheriff’s Office said debris began piling up Sunday on the 114-year-old dam, located about 10 miles southwest of Mankato, putting it “in a state of imminent failure.” “.


Dam operators alerted authorities around 10:36 a.m. Monday that the river had significantly eroded the land around the west side of the dam on the south side of Mankato, according to the National Weather Service.

Pieces of an Xcel Energy building and other county buildings added to the debris in the water.

Gov. Tim Walz released a statement on the dam Monday afternoon.

“Our agencies are in close contact with Blue Earth County and other local officials regarding the Rapidan Dam near Mankato. Emergency management is on the ground and acting quickly to keep Minnesotans safe as the situation is evolving,” Walz said.

Officials also say the County Road 33 Bridge and County Road 90 Bridge are closely monitored for debris passing downstream and can be closed if necessary.


The Blue Earth County Sheriff’s Office says they are also aware of the power outages and are working with Xcel to restore them.

The outage is expected to raise the level of the Minnesota River at Mankato to just below major flood status Tuesday morning, according to the National Weather Service.

The Blue Earth River begins in northern Iowa and joins its western branch in Faribault County in southern Minnesota, according to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. From there, it flows 105 miles north, past the towns of Blue Earth, Winnebago, and Vernon Center, to Mankato, where it empties into the Minnesota River.

This watershed has 21 cities, of which Mankato and Fairmont are the largest.

This is a developing story. Stay with WCCO.com for more.

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