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WDAY: The News Leader

Published June 21, 2012, 09:33 AM

Governor Dayton declares State of Emergency as floodwaters ravage Duluth

Duluth, MN (WDAY TV) - Minnesota's Governor has declared a state of emergency in the city of Duluth after a torrential rainstorm flooded and destroyed wide parts of the city. Floodwaters tore through the zoo, killing animals in the middle of the night.

By: Larry Jacobs, ABC News, ABC News

Duluth, MN (WDAY TV) - Minnesota's Governor has declared a state of emergency in the city of Duluth after a torrential rainstorm flooded and destroyed wide parts of the city. Floodwaters tore through the zoo, killing animals in the middle of the night.

The storm dumped up to ten inches of rain on Duluth.

Greg Vogt - Duluth Resident: "I just can't believe how much water was coming down the hill, it looked like a lake just rolling down the hill, I guess."

Peter Stauber - Duluth Resident: "It happened so fast. I mean, within just 45 minutes or so, the house was flooded and there was no way to get the vehicles out. So, the vehicles are totaled, the house is probably totaled."

The raging floods tore away railroad bridges, flooded tunnels, pushed mudslides and washed up neighborhoods streets, creating massive sinkholes that swallowed entire cars. The rivers of water tore into housing foundations, swept into homes in the northeastern Minnesota city and flooded basements.

Floodwaters also rushed into the Duluth Zoo in the darkness of night, and mayhem ensued.

Peter Pruett - Director of Animal Management: "Basically all our barn animals were washed away in the flood and drowned."

Peacocks escaped, and so did two seals, washed out of the zoo by 14 foot high floodwaters. The seals landed on nearby roads and were rescued.

Peter Pruett: "First primary concern was that if a harbor sea can get out, and then a polar bear can get out."

Indeed. The rising tide of water swept out a polar bear. He was later tranquilized and brought to safety.

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