DULUTH, Minn. (AP) - Duluth Mayor Don Ness says he plans to declare a state of emergency because of serious flooding in his northeastern Minnesota city.
Ness tells The Associated Press he plans to issue the order later Wednesday morning. He says it will help communicate the severity of the problem to the public and start the process of obtaining federal disaster aid.
The mayor says the city is encouraging people to stay home, both because of the amount of standing and rushing water from heavy rains overnight, and the difficulty in spotting hidden hazards. He says they're also discouraging anyone from traveling into the city and through the city, both for their personal safety and so that they stay out of the way of emergency and maintenance crews.
The Lake Superior Zoo says it has lost several animals in the damaging flood waters.
A zoo spokeswoman says a "beloved" donkey named Ashley died as well as sheep and goats in the zoo's barnyard area. Parts of the zoo were under water, including the train depot.
The flooding enabled the zoo's polar bear, Berlin, to escape her exhibit. Police spokesman Jim Hansen says officers helped zoo staff track down the bear overnight. It was tranquilized and returned to its cage. Hansen says even though a big, white object might be easy to find in the dark, it was still unnerving for the officers.
The zoo says no animals escaped the perimeter fence.