Skip to main content
U.S.

Severe flooding, erosion around Minnesota dam causes house collapse

Share

Late Tuesday, June 25, a house on the edge of the Blue Earth River near Minnesota’s Rapidan Dam collapsed due to severe erosion caused by a partial failure of the dam earlier in the week. This incident occurred amid one of the area’s most severe floods on record.

Media Landscape

See who else is reporting on this story and which side of the political spectrum they lean. To read other sources, click on the plus signs below.

Learn more about this data

Left 20%

Center 72%

Right 7%

Bias Distribution Powered by Ground News

Despite the damage, officials confirm the dam is intact and there are no plans for a mass evacuation.

The flood swept away an electrical substation along the river’s west bank, near the iconic Rapidan Dam Store, a treasured local landmark managed by the Barnes family for decades. The family also owned the house that was carried away.

QR code for SAN app download

Download the SAN app today to stay up-to-date with Unbiased. Straight Facts™.

Point phone camera here

The Barnes family evacuated their home just in time, watching it fall into the swollen river after the breach in the dam’s west abutment. The Barnes consider themselves fortunate to have escaped unharmed.

Jenny Barnes, the owner of the Rapidan Dam Store, expressed the severity of the situation.

“That’s our business; that’s our livelihood,” Barnes said. “It’s everything to us. There’s no stopping it. It’s going to go where it wants to go. It’s going to take what it wants to take.”

Blue Earth County Emergency Management reported that the channel around the dam’s west abutment has widened and deepened, with most of the water now bypassing the dam’s gates. Although the water flow has slightly decreased, it remains challenging for emergency mitigation efforts. The focus of emergency services has shifted from the dam to assessing the stability of a nearby bridge.

The Rapidan Dam, more than a century old and previously capable of generating 6 million watts of hydroelectric power, has deteriorated over the years due to regular flooding and aging infrastructure. A 2021 county report presented officials with a critical decision: repair or remove the dam.

Authorities continue to monitor for potential downstream impacts, part of a broader pattern of extreme weather, including torrential rains and flooding, that has caused widespread devastation across the upper Midwest.

Tags: , , ,

[lauren taylor]

A HOUSE TEETERING ON THE EDGE OF THE BLUE EARTH RIVER NEAR MINNESOTA’S RAPIDAN DAM COLLAPSED DUE TO SEVERE EROSION LATE TUESDAY NIGHT. AS THE AREA SEES ONE OF IT’S MOST SEVERE FLOODS EVER RECORDED.

DESPITE THE DAMAGE, OFFICIALS CONFIRM THE DAM IS STILL INTACT AND THERE ARE CURRENTLY NO PLANS FOR A MASS EVACUATION.

THE FLOOD ALSO SWEPT AWAY SEVERAL BUILDINGS ALONG THE RIVER’S WEST BANK, INCLUDING THE ICONIC RAPIDAN DAM STORE, A TREASURED LOCAL LANDMARK MANAGED BY THE BARNES FAMILY FOR DECADES. NEARBY, LARGE TREES WERE UPROOTED AND CARRIED OFF BY THE TURBULENT WATERS.

THE BARNES FAMILY EVACUATED JUST IN TIME, WATCHING IT FALL INTO THE SWOLLEN RIVER FOLLOWING THE BREACH IN THE DAM’S WEST ABUTMENT.

JENNY BARNES
RAPIDAN DAM STORE OWNER

“That’s our business; that’s our livelihood. It’s everything to us. There’s no stopping it. It’s going to go where it wants to go. It’s going to take what it wants to take.”

BLUE EARTH COUNTY OFFICIALS REPORTED THAT THE CHANNEL AROUND THE DAM’S WEST ABUTMENT WIDENED AND DEEPENED OVER NIGHT, WITH MOST OF THE WATER ON WEDNESDAY  BYPASSING THE DAM’S GATES.

ALTHOUGH THE WATER FLOW RATE HAS SLIGHTLY DECREASED, EMERGENCY EFFORTS REMAIN CHALLENGING. THE FOCUS OF EMERGENCY SERVICES SHIFTING FROM THE DAM TO THE STABILITY OF A NEARBY BRIDGE.

THE RAPIDAN DAM, OVER A CENTURY OLD AND PREVIOUSLY CAPABLE OF GENERATING 6 MILLION WATTS OF HYDROELECTRIC POWER, HAS DETERIORATED OVER THE YEARS DUE TO REGULAR FLOODING AND AGING INFRASTRUCTURE. A 2021 COUNTY REPORT FACED OFFICIALS WITH A CRITICAL DECISION: REPAIR THE DAM OR REMOVE IT.

AUTHORITIES ARE MONITORING FOR DOWNSTREAM IMPACTS, AS EXTREME RAINS AND FLOODING CAUSE WIDESPREAD DEVASTATION ACROSS THE UPPER MIDWEST.

FOR STRAIGHT ARROW NEWS I’M LAUREN TAYLORMAKE SURE TO DOWNLOAD THE STRAIGHT ARROW NEWS APP – AND SIGN UP FOR NOTIFICATIONS – SO YOU NEVER MISS AN UPDATE.