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Pawlenty orders state of emergency due to flood conditions

ST. PAUL -- A state of emergency due to flood conditions or ordered late Friday for seven northwest Minnesota counties by Gov. Tim Pawlenty.

Pawlenty signed an executive order, which activates the Minnesota National Guard, for Wilkin, Clay, Marshall, Polk, Norman, Kittson and Traverse counties due to rapidly warming temperatures, significant rainfall and other factors that create the potential for serious flooding.

By his executive order, Pawlenty is activating the National Guard to assist in flood preparations in the Red River Valley and to provide emergency relief services. Initially, 25 members of the 2nd Combined Arms Battalion, 136th Infantry will help with preparation activities in Moorhead. Additional soldiers will be activated as necessary, said a statement from the Governor's Office.

The order also activates the Minnesota Emergency Operations Plan and triggers state agencies, in cooperation with federal agencies, to provide assistance to help respond to the emergency.

"Many ditches, culverts, rivers and streams in the counties adjacent to the Red River of the North are currently clogged with ice, thus impeding water flows," states the executive order. "Rapidly warming temperatures, significant rainfall, and additional overland movement of water with ponding have been forecast for the coming week ... the closure of secondary roads, sandbagging operations, and other emergency measures will likely be required in response to flooding conditions."

The executive order will be in effect for as long as the situation requires emergency response, the governor said.