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Published June 27 2012

Forum editorial: Recovery in Duluth under way

The people of the Red River Valley know all about flooding. So when Duluth, Minn., was hammered by record rainfall and subsequent flash flooding a few days ago, residents of Fargo and other valley communities prepared to help. Volunteers made the trip to pitch in with cleanup and recovery. The major helping organizations, including the American Red Cross and Salvation Army, mobilized their people to work in Duluth.

The Forum sent two of its newsroom personnel to assist the Duluth News Tribune while some of the newspaper’s employees dealt with the flood’s aftermath. The newspaper itself was not damaged in the flooding. The News Tribune and The Forum are owned by Forum Communications Co.

The initial damage estimate from Duluth was $100 million. That will prove to be low as assessments from the city and surrounding area are completed. The power of the rushing water was evident in the pictures and news reports from Duluth. Unlike Fargo’s slow-motion spring floods on the Red River, the floodwaters hit Duluth with frightening speed and destructive power. And unlike valley flooding, there was no time for Duluth to prepare for the deluge or protect properties in the floodwaters’ path.

Duluth will recover. In fact, the city is not crippled or closed. Rather, city officials emphasized this week that most of the city is open for business and tourism. The hardest-hit flood zones, of course, are off-limits, and some roads are not safe, having been undermined by floodwaters.

Recovery work already is under way. A package of federal, state and local aid will be cobbled together as soon as possible. Work to restore some roads and other infrastructure started as soon as waters receded.

Duluth is a strong city. Its people are resilient. They have been hit hard by Mother Nature, but like Fargo, Grand Forks and other cities that have suffered flood damage, Duluth will emerge better than ever.

Forum editorials represent the opinion of Forum management and the newspaper’s Editorial Board.