DULUTH, MN– With all of St. Louis County under a flood watch due to melting snow and forecasted rain, the county’s Public Works Department is hoping to minimize the impact of flooded roads with specialized equipment.
Officials say areas near culverts that are filled with ice and snow are at particularly high risk of flooding.
Water is unable to flow through the blocked culvert and instead fills the nearby ditch and spills over onto the road.
St. Louis County Public Works has approximately 20 culvert steamers loaded and ready for use county wide.
The steamers use a hose and high pressure to spray hot water at blocked culverts. The nozzle on the hose can be pulled through the ice, creating a hole. Once water is able to flow through, the hole will continue to widen for better drainage.
Sign crews are also ready to post signs as needed warning of roads that are closed or have water on them.
The City of Duluth is also taking action to prepare the roads for possible flooding.
Motorists should remember that conditions and water depth can change rapidly. Anyone who encounters a dangerous road condition is asked to call 911.