People, animals flee floods in NE Minnesota city

By the Associated Press | June 20, 2012 | 10:05 AM EDT

An automobile navigates the high rushing water on the 200 block of East Seventh Street in Duluth, Minn., on Tuesday evening, June 19, 2012, after heavy rains hit the area. Floods fed by a steady torrential downpour forced road closures in northeastern Minnesota on Wednesday, and some people were being urged to evacuate their homes because of the rising St. Louis River. Interstate 35 and downtown tunnels in Duluth were closed and police recommended emergency travel only, warning that numerous sinkholes and washouts were making travel dangerous. (AP Photo/The Duluth News-Tribune, Clint Austin )

DULUTH, Minn. (AP) — Floods fed by a steady torrential downpour have forced residents to evacuate their homes and animals to flee their pens at a zoo in a northeast Minnesota city.

Police spokesman Jim Hansen says officers helped staff at the Lake Superior Zoo in Duluth to catch escaped animals, including a polar bear, after up to 8 inches of rain fell on the area late Tuesday.

Zoo officials said Wednesday that some barnyard animals died, but that none left the zoo grounds.

Elsewhere in Duluth, Interstate 35 and downtown tunnels are closed and authorities say conditions are too dangerous for driving due to sinkholes and washouts.

Hansen says about a dozen homes in Fond du Lac have been evacuated.