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Koochiching County flood update: Additional road closures expected today, lightning impacts sandbag operations

May 30, 2022 11:30AM ● By Editor
Voyageur Way Satellite Sandbag Site. Submitted photo

From the Koochiching County Emergency Operations Center • May 30, 2022

Due to the presence of lightning, sandbagging operations will be subject to delays throughout the day. County operations at Kerry Park and satellite sand locations will be operational whenever safe to do so. When lightning is present, sand will still be available to residents who choose to collect sandbags on their own; however, the County’s limited mechanical and human resources cannot safely operate with lightning present. 

The Tilson Bay satellite sandbag location is no longer being supplied with sand and is closed due to rising water levels. The Emergency Operations Center has established an alternative satellite sand location on Voyageur Way, just east of International Falls on Hwy 11. This new sand site is open. 

Whenever lightning is not present, sandbag operations will commence and more volunteers will be needed throughout the day. Those who wish to volunteer, please show up at the registration tent Kerry Park and you will be directed on what to do.

“On Sunday, May 29, more than 30,400 sandbags were filled and distributed. Koochiching County Emergency Operations extends sincere thanks to everyone who assisted with sandbag efforts throughout the weekend to-date, and for the patience of those who waited in line and are waiting today,” said Sheriff Perryn Hedlund. “While it is frustrating to have to cease sandbag operations, life safety and preservation of resources to be able to continually respond to the flooding in the days to come is paramount. We are working as safely and efficiently as possible to serve everyone in the community. Throughout the day we will be evaluating water levels, enacting necessary road closures, as well as prioritizing delivery of sandbags based on severity of need whenever we can safely continue sand operations.”

Expected Road Closures

Due to rising water levels and additional precipitation, the following roads will be closed this afternoon, Monday, May 30, 2022 in Koochiching County. County Road 117 (also known as Birch Point Rd), UT 446 and UT 269 will be closed. Residents impacted by the high water and road closures are asked to evacuate. Residents in these areas have been notified of the impending closures. These road closures will impact 12 homes and Sportsmen’s Dock.

Community Center, 900 5th St, International Falls, so the wellbeing and location of residents can be accounted for. Those needing shelter after evacuation will be provided direction at that time. A list of recommended items to take with you is posted on the County’s website at and on the Koochiching County Sheriff’s Office Page. 

MnDOT asks the public to use caution on the Hwy 11 bypasses near Dove Island on Rainy Lake. Motorists must follow the directions on the signalized system as it is timed appropriately for the travel distance. Travel only when the signal is green and wait until the next cycle before entering the bypass as traffic may be approaching from the other direction. Do not stop in the bypass for any reason including to observe conditions or take pictures.

Drive slow and use caution in areas where water is near the road. Water levels and road conditions will continue to be closely monitored. 

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Valerie Marasco Eliasen
Public Information Officer
Koochiching County Emergency Operations Center 
[email protected]
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