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Alice Munro, Nobel literature winner revered as short story master, dead at 92

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Alice Munro, Nobel literature winner revered as short story master, dead at 92
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Alice Munro, Nobel literature winner revered as short story master, dead at 92

2024-05-15 03:02 Last Updated At:10:20

Nobel laureate Alice Munro, the Canadian literary giant who became one of the world’s most esteemed contemporary authors and one of history's most honored short story writers, has died at age 92.

A spokesperson for publisher Penguin Random House Canada said Munro, winner of the Nobel literary prize in 2013, died Monday at home in Port Hope, Ontario. Munro had been in frail health for years and often spoke of retirement, a decision that proved final after the author's 2012 collection, "Dear Life."

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FILE - Writer Alice Munro attends the opening night of the International Festival of Authors in Toronto on Wednesday Oct. 21, 2009. Munro, the Canadian literary giant who became one of the world’s most esteemed contemporary authors and one of history's most honored short story writers, has died at age 92. (Chris Young/The Canadian Press via AP)

Nobel laureate Alice Munro, the Canadian literary giant who became one of the world’s most esteemed contemporary authors and one of history's most honored short story writers, has died at age 92.

FILE - Nobel Prize-winning Canadian author Alice Munro attends a ceremony held by the Royal Canadian Mint where they unveiled a 99.99% pure silver five-dollar coin in Victoria, B.C., on March 24, 2014. Munro, the Canadian literary giant who became one of the world’s most esteemed contemporary authors and one of history's most honored short story writers, has died at age 92. (Chad Hipolito/The Canadian Press via AP, File)

FILE - Nobel Prize-winning Canadian author Alice Munro attends a ceremony held by the Royal Canadian Mint where they unveiled a 99.99% pure silver five-dollar coin in Victoria, B.C., on March 24, 2014. Munro, the Canadian literary giant who became one of the world’s most esteemed contemporary authors and one of history's most honored short story writers, has died at age 92. (Chad Hipolito/The Canadian Press via AP, File)

FILE - Canadian author Alice Munro is photographed during an interview in Victoria, B.C. Tuesday, Dec.10, 2013. Munro, the Canadian literary giant who became one of the world’s most esteemed contemporary authors and one of history's most honored short story writers, has died at age 92. (Chad Hipolito/The Canadian Press via AP, File)

FILE - Canadian author Alice Munro is photographed during an interview in Victoria, B.C. Tuesday, Dec.10, 2013. Munro, the Canadian literary giant who became one of the world’s most esteemed contemporary authors and one of history's most honored short story writers, has died at age 92. (Chad Hipolito/The Canadian Press via AP, File)

FILE - Canadian author Alice Munro is photographed during an interview in Victoria, B.C. Tuesday, Dec.10, 2013. Munro, the Canadian literary giant who became one of the world’s most esteemed contemporary authors and one of history's most honored short story writers, has died at age 92. (Chad Hipolito/The Canadian Press via AP, File)

FILE - Canadian author Alice Munro is photographed during an interview in Victoria, B.C. Tuesday, Dec.10, 2013. Munro, the Canadian literary giant who became one of the world’s most esteemed contemporary authors and one of history's most honored short story writers, has died at age 92. (Chad Hipolito/The Canadian Press via AP, File)

FILE - Canadian author Alice Munro poses for a photograph at the Canadian Consulate's residence in New York on Oct. 28, 2002. Munro, the Canadian literary giant who became one of the world’s most esteemed contemporary authors and one of history's most honored short story writers, has died at age 92. (AP Photo/Paul Hawthorne, File)

FILE - Canadian author Alice Munro poses for a photograph at the Canadian Consulate's residence in New York on Oct. 28, 2002. Munro, the Canadian literary giant who became one of the world’s most esteemed contemporary authors and one of history's most honored short story writers, has died at age 92. (AP Photo/Paul Hawthorne, File)

Often ranked with Anton Chekhov, John Cheever and a handful of other short story writers, Munro achieved stature rare for an art form traditionally placed beneath the novel. She was the first lifelong Canadian to win the Nobel and the first recipient cited exclusively for short fiction. Echoing the judgment of so many before, the Swedish academy pronounced her a "master of the contemporary short story” who could “accommodate the entire epic complexity of the novel in just a few short pages.”

Munro, little known beyond Canada until her late 30s, also became one of the few short story writers to enjoy ongoing commercial success. Sales in North America alone exceeded 1 million copies and the Nobel announcement raised "Dear Life" to the high end of The New York Times' bestseller list for paperback fiction. Other popular books included "Too Much Happiness," "The View from Castle Rock" and "The Love of a Good Woman.”

Over a half century of writing, Munro perfected one of the greatest tricks of any art form: illuminating the universal through the particular, creating stories set around Canada that appealed to readers far away. She produced no single definitive work, but dozens of classics that were showcases of wisdom, technique and talent — her inspired plot twists and artful shifts of time and perspective; her subtle, sometimes cutting humor; her summation of lives in broad dimension and fine detail; her insights into people across age or background, her genius for sketching a character, like the adulterous woman introduced as “short, cushiony, dark-eyed, effusive. A stranger to irony.”

Her best known fiction included "The Beggar Maid," a courtship between an insecure young woman and an officious rich boy who becomes her husband; "Corrie," in which a wealthy young woman has an affair with an architect "equipped with a wife and young family"; and "The Moons of Jupiter," about a middle-aged writer who visits her ailing father in a Toronto hospital and shares memories of different parts of their lives.

"I think any life can be interesting," Munro said during a 2013 post-prize interview for the Nobel Foundation. "I think any surroundings can be interesting."

Disliking Munro, as a writer or as a person, seemed almost heretical. The wide and welcoming smile captured in her author photographs was complemented by a down-to-earth manner and eyes of acute alertness, fitting for a woman who seemed to pull stories out of the air the way songwriters discovered melodies. She was admired without apparent envy, placed by the likes of Jonathan Franzen, John Updike and Cynthia Ozick at the very top of the pantheon. Munro's daughter, Sheila Munro, wrote a memoir in which she confided that "so unassailable is the truth of her fiction that sometimes I even feel as though I'm living inside an Alice Munro story." Fellow Canadian author Margaret Atwood called her a pioneer for women, and for Canadians.

"Back in the 1950s and 60s, when Munro began, there was a feeling that not only female writers but Canadians were thought to be both trespassing and transgressing," Atwood wrote in a 2013 tribute published in the Guardian after Munro won the Nobel. "The road to the Nobel wasn't an easy one for Munro: the odds that a literary star would emerge from her time and place would once have been zero."

Although not overtly political, Munro witnessed and participated in the cultural revolution of the 1960s and '70s and permitted her characters to do the same. She was a farmer's daughter who married young, then left her husband in the 1970s and took to "wearing miniskirts and prancing around," as she recalled during a 2003 interview with The Associated Press. Many of her stories contrasted the generation of Munro's parents with the more open-ended lives of their children, departing from the years when housewives daydreamed “between the walls that the husband was paying for.”

Moviegoers would become familiar with "The Bear Came Over the Mountain," the improbably seamless tale of a married woman with memory loss who has an affair with a fellow nursing home patient, a story further complicated by her husband's many past infidelities. "The Bear" was adapted by Sarah Polley into the 2006 feature film "Away from Her," which brought an Academy Award nomination for Julie Christie. In 2014, Kristen Wiig starred in “Hateship, Loveship,” an adaptation of the story “Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage," in which a housekeeper leaves her job and travels to a distant rural town to meet up with a man she believes is in love with her — unaware the romantic letters she has received were concocted by his daughter and a friend.

Even before the Nobel, Munro received honors from around the English-language world, including Britain's Man Booker International Prize and the National Book Critics Circle award in the U.S., where the American Academy of Arts and Letters voted her in as an honorary member. In Canada, she was a three-time winner of the Governor's General Award and a two-time winner of the Giller Prize.

Munro was a short story writer by choice, and, apparently, by design. Judith Jones, an editor at Alfred A. Knopf who worked with Updike and Anne Tyler, did not want to publish "Lives of Girls & Women," her only novel, writing in an internal memo that "there's no question the lady can write but it's also clear she is primarily a short story writer."

Munro would acknowledge that she didn't think like a novelist.

"I have all these disconnected realities in my own life, and I see them in other people's lives," she told the AP. “That was one of the problems, why I couldn't write novels. I never saw things hanging together too well.”

Alice Ann Laidlaw was born in Wingham, Ontario, in 1931, and spent much of her childhood there, a time and place she often used in her fiction, including the four autobiographical pieces that concluded “Dear Life.” Her father was a fox farmer, her mother a teacher and the family’s fortunes shifted between middle class and working poor, giving the future author a special sensitivity to money and class. Young Alice was often absorbed in literature, starting with the first time she was read Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Little Mermaid.” She was a compulsive inventor of stories and the “sort of child who reads walking upstairs and props a book in front of her when she does the dishes.”

A top student in high school, she received a scholarship to study at the University of Western Ontario, majoring in journalism as a “cover-up” for her pursuit of literature. She was still an undergraduate when she sold a story about a lonely teacher, “The Dimensions of a Shadow,” to CBC Radio. She was also publishing work in her school’s literary journal.

One fellow student read “Dimensions” and wrote to the then-Laidlaw, telling her the story reminded him of Chekhov. The student, Gerald Fremlin, would become her second husband. Another fellow student, James Munro, was her first husband. They married in 1951, when she was only 20, and had four children, one of whom died soon after birth.

Settling with her family in British Columbia, Alice Munro wrote between trips to school, housework and helping her husband at the bookstore that they co-owned and would turn up in some of her stories. She wrote one book in the laundry room of her house, her typewriter placed near the washer and dryer. Flannery O’Connor, Carson McCullers and other writers from the American South inspired her, through their sense of place and their understanding of the strange and absurd.

Isolated from the literary center of Toronto, she did manage to get published in several literary magazines and to attract the attention of an editor at Ryerson Press (later bought out by McGraw Hill). Her debut collection, “Dance of the Happy Shades,” was released in 1968 with a first printing of just under 2,700 copies. A year later it won the Governor’s General Award and made Munro a national celebrity — and curiosity. “Literary Fame Catches City Mother Unprepared,” read one newspaper headline.

“When the book first came they sent me a half dozen copies. I put them in the closet. I didn’t look at them. I didn’t tell my husband they had come, because I couldn’t bear it. I was afraid it was terrible,” Munro told the AP. “And one night, he was away, and I forced myself to sit down and read it all the way through, and I didn’t think it was too bad. And I felt I could acknowledge it and it would be OK.”

By the early ’70s, she had left her husband, later observing that she was not “prepared to be a submissive wife.” Her changing life was best illustrated by her response to the annual Canadian census. For years, she had written down her occupation as “housewife.” In 1971, she switched to “writer.”

Over the next 40 years, her reputation and readership only grew, with many of her stories first appearing in The New Yorker. Her prose style was straightforward, her tone matter of fact, but her plots revealed unending disruption and disappointments: broken marriages, violent deaths, madness and dreams unfulfilled, or never even attempted. “Canadian Gothic” was one way she described the community of her childhood, a world she returned to when, in middle age, she and her second husband relocated to nearby Clinton.

“Shame and embarrassment are driving forces for Munro’s characters,” Atwood wrote, “just as perfectionism in the writing has been a driving force for her: getting it down, getting it right, but also the impossibility of that.”

She had the kind of curiosity that would have made her an ideal companion on a long train ride, imagining the lives of the other passengers. Munro wrote the story “Friend of My Youth,” in which a man has an affair with his fiancee’s sister and ends up living with both women, after an acquaintance told her about some neighbors who belonged to a religion that forbade card games. The author wanted to know more — about the religion, about the neighbors.

Even as a child, Munro had regarded the world as an adventure and mystery and herself as an observer, walking around Wingham and taking in the homes as if she were a tourist. In “The Peace of Utrecht,” an autobiographical story written in the late 1960s, a woman discovers an old high school notebook and remembers a dance she once attended with an intensity that would envelop her whole existence.

“And now an experience which seemed not at all memorable at the time,” Munro wrote, “had been transformed into something curiously meaningful for me, and complete; it took in more than the girls dancing and the single street, it spread over the whole town, its rudimentary pattern of streets and its bare trees and muddy yards just free of the snow, over the dirt roads where the lights of cars appeared, jolting toward the town, under an immense pale wash of sky.”

This story has been updated to correct the title of “The Beggar Maid.”

FILE - Writer Alice Munro attends the opening night of the International Festival of Authors in Toronto on Wednesday Oct. 21, 2009. Munro, the Canadian literary giant who became one of the world’s most esteemed contemporary authors and one of history's most honored short story writers, has died at age 92. (Chris Young/The Canadian Press via AP)

FILE - Writer Alice Munro attends the opening night of the International Festival of Authors in Toronto on Wednesday Oct. 21, 2009. Munro, the Canadian literary giant who became one of the world’s most esteemed contemporary authors and one of history's most honored short story writers, has died at age 92. (Chris Young/The Canadian Press via AP)

FILE - Nobel Prize-winning Canadian author Alice Munro attends a ceremony held by the Royal Canadian Mint where they unveiled a 99.99% pure silver five-dollar coin in Victoria, B.C., on March 24, 2014. Munro, the Canadian literary giant who became one of the world’s most esteemed contemporary authors and one of history's most honored short story writers, has died at age 92. (Chad Hipolito/The Canadian Press via AP, File)

FILE - Nobel Prize-winning Canadian author Alice Munro attends a ceremony held by the Royal Canadian Mint where they unveiled a 99.99% pure silver five-dollar coin in Victoria, B.C., on March 24, 2014. Munro, the Canadian literary giant who became one of the world’s most esteemed contemporary authors and one of history's most honored short story writers, has died at age 92. (Chad Hipolito/The Canadian Press via AP, File)

FILE - Canadian author Alice Munro is photographed during an interview in Victoria, B.C. Tuesday, Dec.10, 2013. Munro, the Canadian literary giant who became one of the world’s most esteemed contemporary authors and one of history's most honored short story writers, has died at age 92. (Chad Hipolito/The Canadian Press via AP, File)

FILE - Canadian author Alice Munro is photographed during an interview in Victoria, B.C. Tuesday, Dec.10, 2013. Munro, the Canadian literary giant who became one of the world’s most esteemed contemporary authors and one of history's most honored short story writers, has died at age 92. (Chad Hipolito/The Canadian Press via AP, File)

FILE - Canadian author Alice Munro is photographed during an interview in Victoria, B.C. Tuesday, Dec.10, 2013. Munro, the Canadian literary giant who became one of the world’s most esteemed contemporary authors and one of history's most honored short story writers, has died at age 92. (Chad Hipolito/The Canadian Press via AP, File)

FILE - Canadian author Alice Munro is photographed during an interview in Victoria, B.C. Tuesday, Dec.10, 2013. Munro, the Canadian literary giant who became one of the world’s most esteemed contemporary authors and one of history's most honored short story writers, has died at age 92. (Chad Hipolito/The Canadian Press via AP, File)

FILE - Canadian author Alice Munro poses for a photograph at the Canadian Consulate's residence in New York on Oct. 28, 2002. Munro, the Canadian literary giant who became one of the world’s most esteemed contemporary authors and one of history's most honored short story writers, has died at age 92. (AP Photo/Paul Hawthorne, File)

FILE - Canadian author Alice Munro poses for a photograph at the Canadian Consulate's residence in New York on Oct. 28, 2002. Munro, the Canadian literary giant who became one of the world’s most esteemed contemporary authors and one of history's most honored short story writers, has died at age 92. (AP Photo/Paul Hawthorne, File)

Next Article

Iowa floodwaters breach levees as even more rain forecast for drenched Midwest

2024-06-26 06:15 Last Updated At:06:20

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Floodwaters breached levees in Iowa on Tuesday, creating dangerous conditions that prompted evacuations as the deluged Midwest faced another round of severe storms forecast for later in the day.

A vast swath of lands from eastern Nebraska and South Dakota to Iowa and Minnesota has been under siege from flooding from torrential rains since last week, while also being hit with a scorching heat wave. Up to 18 inches (46 centimeters) of rain have fallen in some areas, and some rivers rose to record levels. Hundreds of people were rescued, homes were damaged and at least two people died after driving in flooded areas.

The sheriff's office in Monona County, near the Nebraska border, said the Little Sioux River breached levees in several areas. In neighboring Woodbury County, the sheriff’s office posted drone video on Facebook showing the river overflowing the levee and flooding land in rural Smithland. No injuries were immediately reported.

Patrick Prorok, emergency management coordinator in Monona County, described waking people at about 4 a.m. in Rodney, a town of about 45 people, to recommend evacuation. Later Tuesday morning, the water hadn’t yet washed into the community.

“People up the hill are saying it is coming our way,” Prorok said.

As new areas were flooding Tuesday, some cities and towns were cleaning up after the waters receded while others downstream were piling sandbags and taking other measures to protect against the oncoming swelled currents. Some normal, unassuming tributaries ballooned into rushing rivers, damaging homes, buildings and bridges.

“Normally, this river is barely a trickle,” 71-year-old Hank Howley said as she watched the Big Sioux’s waters gush over a broken and partially sunken rail bridge in North Sioux City, South Dakota, on Monday. “Really, you could just walk across it most days.”

South Dakota state geologist Tim Cowman said that the five major rivers in the state’s southeastern corner have crested and are dropping, albeit it slowly. The last of those rivers to crest, the James, did so early Tuesday.

In a residential development along McCook Lake in North Sioux City, the devastation became clear Tuesday as floodwaters began to recede from Monday, exposing collapsed streets, utility poles and trees. Some homes had been washed off their foundations.

“Currently, there is no water, sewer, gas or electrical service in this area,” Union County Emergency Management said in a Facebook post.

President Joe Biden approved a major disaster declaration for affected counties in Iowa on Monday, a move that paves the way for federal aid to be granted.

To the south in Sioux City and Woodbury County, Iowa, officials responded to residents’ complaints that they had received little warning of the flooding and its severity. Sioux City Fire Marshal Mark Aesoph said at a news conference Tuesday that rivers crested higher than predicted.

“Even if we would have known about this two weeks ago, there was nothing we could do at this point. We cannot extend the entire length of our levee,” Sioux City Fire Marshal Mark Aesoph said. “It’s impossible.”

Water had spilled over the Big Sioux River levee, and Aesoph estimated hundreds of homes likely have some internal water damage.

Homes on the south side of Spencer, Iowa near the Little Sioux River are unlivable as water has reached the main floor, resident Ben Thomas said. A lot of people in town are facing a “double whammy,” with homes and businesses affected.

Officials in Woodbury County said around a dozen bridges over the Little Sioux River had been topped by flood water, and each would need to be inspected to see if they can reopen to traffic.

Forever Wildlife Lodge and Clinic, a nonprofit animal rescue, in northwest Iowa has answered over 200 calls since the flooding started, said licensed wildlife rehabilitator Amanda Hase.

Hase described the flooding as “catastrophic” for Iowa wildlife, which are getting washed out of dens, injured by debris and separated from each other. She and other rehabilitators are responding to calls about all kinds of species, from fawns and groundhogs to bunnies and eaglets.

“I’ve never seen it this bad before, ever,” she said.

Further to the east in Humboldt, Iowa, a record crest of 16.5 feet (5 meters) was expected Wednesday at the west fork of the Des Moines River. Amid high temperatures and humidity, nearly 68,000 sandbags have been laid, according to county emergency manager Kyle Bissell.

Bissell told reporters Tuesday that there was no water on the streets yet, but flooding had begun in some backyards and was reaching up to foundations. Humboldt is home to nearly 5,000 residents.

More severe weather was forecast to move into the region Tuesday, potentially bringing large hail, damaging winds and even a brief tornado or two in parts of western Iowa and eastern Nebraska, according to the National Weather Service. Showers and storms were also possible in parts of South Dakota and Minnesota, the agency said.

In Michigan, more than 150,000 homes and businesses were without power Tuesday morning after severe thunderstorms barreled through, less than a week after storms left thousands in the dark for days in suburban Detroit.

The weather service also predicted more than two dozen points of major flooding in southern Minnesota, eastern South Dakota and northern Iowa, and flood warnings are expected to continue into the week.

Many streams, especially with additional rainfall, may not crest until later this week as the floodwaters slowly drain down a web of rivers to the Missouri and Mississippi. The Missouri will crest at Omaha on Thursday, said Kevin Low, a weather service hydrologist.

North of Des Moines, Iowa, the lake above the Saylorville Dam was absorbing river surge and expected to largely protect the metro area from flooding, according to the Polk County Emergency Management Agency. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers projected Tuesday that water levels at Saylorville Lake will rise by more than 30 feet (9 meters) by the Fourth of July.

Outside Mankato, Minnesota, the local sheriff’s office said Monday that there was a “partial failure” of the western support structure for the Rapidan Dam on the Blue Earth River after the dam became plugged with debris. Flowing water eroded the western bank, rushed around the dam and washed out an electrical substation, causing about 600 power outages.

Eric Weller, emergency management director for the Blue Earth County sheriff, said the bank would likely erode more, but he didn’t expect the concrete dam itself to fail. The two homes downstream were evacuated.

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz on Tuesday cautioned against rebuilding too fast, instead emphasizing more sustainable repairs that could prevent or mitigate future flooding.

“Nature doesn’t care whether you believe in climate change or not,” Walz said. “The insurance companies sure believe in it. The actuarials sure believe in it, and we do.”

Collins reported from Hartford, Connecticut, and Beck reported from Omaha, Nebraska. Associated Press writer Rick Callahan in Indianapolis contributed to this report.

Heavy rains in recent days have submerged farmland near Vermillion, S.D., on Tuesday, June 25, 2024. Flooding has devastated communities in several states across the Midwest. (Jake Hoffner via AP)

Heavy rains in recent days have submerged farmland near Vermillion, S.D., on Tuesday, June 25, 2024. Flooding has devastated communities in several states across the Midwest. (Jake Hoffner via AP)

An onlooker stands on a road barrier as waters rush by the Rapidan Dam in Rapidan, Minn., Monday, June 24, 2024. Waters from the Blue Earth River diverted the dam amid recent heavy rainfalls. (Casey Ek/The Free Press via AP)

An onlooker stands on a road barrier as waters rush by the Rapidan Dam in Rapidan, Minn., Monday, June 24, 2024. Waters from the Blue Earth River diverted the dam amid recent heavy rainfalls. (Casey Ek/The Free Press via AP)

The Rapidan Dam in Rapidan, Minn., wears the damage after a partial collapse of the west bank, Tuesday, June 25, 2024. (Casey Ek/The Free Press via AP)

The Rapidan Dam in Rapidan, Minn., wears the damage after a partial collapse of the west bank, Tuesday, June 25, 2024. (Casey Ek/The Free Press via AP)

Floodwaters rush over a collapsed railroad bridge over the Big Sioux River near North Sioux City, S.D., on Monday, June 24, 2024. (AP Photo/Josh Jurgens)

Floodwaters rush over a collapsed railroad bridge over the Big Sioux River near North Sioux City, S.D., on Monday, June 24, 2024. (AP Photo/Josh Jurgens)

Onlookers take in the catastrophic damage to the Rapidan Dam site in Rapidan, Minn., Monday, June 24, 2024. Debris blocked the dam forcing the heavily backed up waters of the Blue Earth River to reroute along the bank nearest the Dam Store. (Casey Ek/The Free Press via AP)

Onlookers take in the catastrophic damage to the Rapidan Dam site in Rapidan, Minn., Monday, June 24, 2024. Debris blocked the dam forcing the heavily backed up waters of the Blue Earth River to reroute along the bank nearest the Dam Store. (Casey Ek/The Free Press via AP)

The innards of a house near the Rapidan Dam in Rapidan, Minn., are visible as waters from the Blue Earth River rush by, Monday, June 24, 2024. (Casey Ek/The Free Press via AP)

The innards of a house near the Rapidan Dam in Rapidan, Minn., are visible as waters from the Blue Earth River rush by, Monday, June 24, 2024. (Casey Ek/The Free Press via AP)

Heavy rains in recent days have submerged farmland near Vermillion, S.D., on Tuesday, June 25, 2024. Flooding has devastated communities in several states across the Midwest. (Jake Hoffner via AP)

Heavy rains in recent days have submerged farmland near Vermillion, S.D., on Tuesday, June 25, 2024. Flooding has devastated communities in several states across the Midwest. (Jake Hoffner via AP)

A home teeters on the brink of collapsing into the Blue Earth River on Monday, June 24, 2024, near the Rapidan Dam in Mankato, Minn. (Aaron Lavinsky/Star Tribune via AP)

A home teeters on the brink of collapsing into the Blue Earth River on Monday, June 24, 2024, near the Rapidan Dam in Mankato, Minn. (Aaron Lavinsky/Star Tribune via AP)

Brian Jeffrey wades through a flooded Riverside City Park alongside the Cannon River in Northfield, Minn., on Monday, June 24, 2024. (Jeff Wheeler/Star Tribune via AP)

Brian Jeffrey wades through a flooded Riverside City Park alongside the Cannon River in Northfield, Minn., on Monday, June 24, 2024. (Jeff Wheeler/Star Tribune via AP)

A shipping container barrels down the Blue Earth River, Monday, June 24, 2024, in Rapidan, Minn., after waters from the waterway diverted the Rapidan Dam, causing massive damage to the western cliffs. (Casey Ek/The Free Press via AP)

A shipping container barrels down the Blue Earth River, Monday, June 24, 2024, in Rapidan, Minn., after waters from the waterway diverted the Rapidan Dam, causing massive damage to the western cliffs. (Casey Ek/The Free Press via AP)

Crews survey the area surrounding the Rapidan Dam from a lift, Monday, June, 24, 2024, in Rapidan, Minn. (Casey Ek/The Free Press via AP)

Crews survey the area surrounding the Rapidan Dam from a lift, Monday, June, 24, 2024, in Rapidan, Minn. (Casey Ek/The Free Press via AP)

Floodwaters from the Big Sioux River erode land in North Sioux City, S.D., on Monday, June 24, 2024. (AP Photo/Josh Jurgens)

Floodwaters from the Big Sioux River erode land in North Sioux City, S.D., on Monday, June 24, 2024. (AP Photo/Josh Jurgens)

Caution tape surrounds collapsed buildings from the Big Sioux River flooding in North Sioux City, S.D., on Monday, June 24, 2024. (AP Photo/Josh Jurgens)

Caution tape surrounds collapsed buildings from the Big Sioux River flooding in North Sioux City, S.D., on Monday, June 24, 2024. (AP Photo/Josh Jurgens)

A bench sits in floodwaters as the the Missouri River boat club is overrun by flooding in Sioux City, Iowa, Monday, June 24, 2024. (AP Photo/Josh Jurgens)

A bench sits in floodwaters as the the Missouri River boat club is overrun by flooding in Sioux City, Iowa, Monday, June 24, 2024. (AP Photo/Josh Jurgens)

Volunteers toss sandbags into the bucket of a loader that will take them to be used to reinforce a berm on the northeast side of Jefferson, South Dakota, Sunday, June 23, 2024. The sandbag effort is an attempt to keep floodwaters from the Big Sioux River from inundating the town. (Tim Hynds/Sioux City Journal via AP)

Volunteers toss sandbags into the bucket of a loader that will take them to be used to reinforce a berm on the northeast side of Jefferson, South Dakota, Sunday, June 23, 2024. The sandbag effort is an attempt to keep floodwaters from the Big Sioux River from inundating the town. (Tim Hynds/Sioux City Journal via AP)

Many families embark on Falls Park in Sioux Falls, S.D., as water rose quickly Saturday, June 22, 2024, after days of heavy rain led to flooding in the area. (AP Photo/Josh Jurgens)

Many families embark on Falls Park in Sioux Falls, S.D., as water rose quickly Saturday, June 22, 2024, after days of heavy rain led to flooding in the area. (AP Photo/Josh Jurgens)

Husets Speedway is underwater after days of heavy rain led to flooding in the area, Saturday, June 22, 2024 , south of Brandon, S.D.. Several campers needed to be rescued due to quickly rising water. (AP Photo/Josh Jurgens)

Husets Speedway is underwater after days of heavy rain led to flooding in the area, Saturday, June 22, 2024 , south of Brandon, S.D.. Several campers needed to be rescued due to quickly rising water. (AP Photo/Josh Jurgens)

A South Dakota Highway Patrol Officer keeps watch over a flooded bridge that was underwater after days of heavy rain led to flooding in the area, near Lake Alvin, S.D., Saturday, June 22, 2024. (AP Photo/Josh Jurgens)

A South Dakota Highway Patrol Officer keeps watch over a flooded bridge that was underwater after days of heavy rain led to flooding in the area, near Lake Alvin, S.D., Saturday, June 22, 2024. (AP Photo/Josh Jurgens)

South Cedar Street is underwater after days of heavy rain led to flooding in the area, Saturday, June 22, 2024, south of Canton, S.D. (AP Photo/Josh Jurgens)

South Cedar Street is underwater after days of heavy rain led to flooding in the area, Saturday, June 22, 2024, south of Canton, S.D. (AP Photo/Josh Jurgens)

Heavy rains cause high water levels at the Rapidan Dam near Mankato, Minn., Monday, June 24, 2024. Officials say the dam is threatened with “imminent failure.” (AP Photo/Mark Vancleave)

Heavy rains cause high water levels at the Rapidan Dam near Mankato, Minn., Monday, June 24, 2024. Officials say the dam is threatened with “imminent failure.” (AP Photo/Mark Vancleave)

Flooding from the Big Sioux River damages roads and buildings in North Sioux City, S.D., on Monday, June 24, 2024. (AP Photo/Josh Jurgens)

Flooding from the Big Sioux River damages roads and buildings in North Sioux City, S.D., on Monday, June 24, 2024. (AP Photo/Josh Jurgens)

CORRECTS TO CLARIFY HOWLEY DID NOT EVACUATE HER HOME - Hank Howley, 71, stands on the banks of the Big Sioux River in North Sioux City, S.D., Monday, June 24, 2024, where a railroad bridge collapsed a day earlier due to flooding. (AP Photo/Margery A. Beck)

CORRECTS TO CLARIFY HOWLEY DID NOT EVACUATE HER HOME - Hank Howley, 71, stands on the banks of the Big Sioux River in North Sioux City, S.D., Monday, June 24, 2024, where a railroad bridge collapsed a day earlier due to flooding. (AP Photo/Margery A. Beck)

A damaged railroad bridge sits in rising floodwaters from the Big Sioux River near North Sioux City, on Monday, June 24, 2024. (AP Photo/Josh Jurgens)

A damaged railroad bridge sits in rising floodwaters from the Big Sioux River near North Sioux City, on Monday, June 24, 2024. (AP Photo/Josh Jurgens)

Tam Nguyen, wearing cap, is helped to dry land by a Sioux City Fire Rescue firefighter after he and Bruce Ege, left, were rescued by boat from their flooded homes in the Riverside neighborhood of Sioux City, Iowa, Monday, June 24, 2024. The evacuations were occurring in the wake of flooding from the Big Sioux and Missouri Rivers. (Tim Hynds/Sioux City Journal via AP)

Tam Nguyen, wearing cap, is helped to dry land by a Sioux City Fire Rescue firefighter after he and Bruce Ege, left, were rescued by boat from their flooded homes in the Riverside neighborhood of Sioux City, Iowa, Monday, June 24, 2024. The evacuations were occurring in the wake of flooding from the Big Sioux and Missouri Rivers. (Tim Hynds/Sioux City Journal via AP)

Flooding from the Big Sioux River damage buildings in North Sioux City, S.D., on Monday, June 24, 2024. (AP Photo/Josh Jurgens)

Flooding from the Big Sioux River damage buildings in North Sioux City, S.D., on Monday, June 24, 2024. (AP Photo/Josh Jurgens)

Floodwaters pass over a collapsed railroad bridge over the Big Sioux River near North Sioux City, S.D., on Monday, June 24, 2024. (AP Photo/Josh Jurgens)

Floodwaters pass over a collapsed railroad bridge over the Big Sioux River near North Sioux City, S.D., on Monday, June 24, 2024. (AP Photo/Josh Jurgens)

A temporary levee helps diverge flooding from the Big Sioux River in North Sioux City, S.D., on Monday, June 24, 2024. (AP Photo/Josh Jurgens)

A temporary levee helps diverge flooding from the Big Sioux River in North Sioux City, S.D., on Monday, June 24, 2024. (AP Photo/Josh Jurgens)

Missy Wheeler carries a basket while helping her mother-in-law Sheila Wheeler, back, evacuate her home on Whitcher Avenue, in Sioux City, Iowa's Riverside neighborhood Monday, June 24, 2024. Evacuations were occurring n the wake of flooding from the Big Sioux and Missouri Rivers. (Tim Hynds/Sioux City Journal via AP)

Missy Wheeler carries a basket while helping her mother-in-law Sheila Wheeler, back, evacuate her home on Whitcher Avenue, in Sioux City, Iowa's Riverside neighborhood Monday, June 24, 2024. Evacuations were occurring n the wake of flooding from the Big Sioux and Missouri Rivers. (Tim Hynds/Sioux City Journal via AP)

Heavy rains cause high water levels at the Rapidan Dam near Mankato, Minn., Monday, June 24, 2024. Officials say the dam is threatened with “imminent failure.” (AP Photo/Mark Vancleave)

Heavy rains cause high water levels at the Rapidan Dam near Mankato, Minn., Monday, June 24, 2024. Officials say the dam is threatened with “imminent failure.” (AP Photo/Mark Vancleave)

Flooding from the Big Sioux River damages roads and buildings in North Sioux City, S.D., on Monday, June 24, 2024. (AP Photo/Josh Jurgens)

Flooding from the Big Sioux River damages roads and buildings in North Sioux City, S.D., on Monday, June 24, 2024. (AP Photo/Josh Jurgens)

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