Spring could mean flooding for Otter Tail County

The lowlands surrounding Leaf River were completely submerged Thursday, March 28, 2019, between Bluffton and Wadena. (Michael Johnson / Pioneer Journal)

The current soil and moisture conditions throughout Otter Tail County, and outlooks of above-normal precipitation, suggest flooding conditions throughout the region this spring are more likely to occur than in a typical year, according to a news release from Otter Tail County Emergency Management.

On Feb. 3, county officials met with the National Weather Service, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Farm Service Agency and other partners to look at the condition from the summer of 2019, according to the release.

Residents have information and resources to help them prepare.

At the county has information about flood insurance, septic system protection, fuel oil tank preparation, sandbagging, and more flood-specific resources, according to the release. Additionally, postcards are being sent out countywide to help direct residents to these resources.

"There is still a lot we don't know, and we continue to monitor, but signs are there," Patrick Waletzko, Otter Tail County Emergency Manager, said in the release. "And we're not waiting to be ready."


As residents prepare for possible flooding, the county shares these details:

  • Otter Tail County does not have flood zones or designated floodplains; your property may still be at risk for flooding.
  • Rivers throughout the county do not have a substantial history of flooding. As a result, flood stage predictions cannot be formulated such as exist on the Sheyenne and Red Rivers.
  • Most homeowner's insurance policies do not cover flooding; residents should consider purchasing a flood insurance policy. Policies must be in place for 30 days prior to an incident. Contact your local insurance agent or visit for more details.
  • Be aware of flooded roadways and "Turn Around, Don't Drown."

Have questions?

  • Emergency Management: 218-998-8067
  • Land & Resource Management: 218-998-8095
  • Highway Department: 218-998-8475

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