Duluth flooding sets zoo seal free downtown [PHOTOS]

UPDATE: Jaw-dropping photos of the Duluth flooding

The Lake Superior Zoo is one of the hardest-hit victims of the torrential rainfall and subsequent flooding that has the Duluth area on lockdown today.

According to the Duluth News Tribune, the zoo's Polar Shores exhibit, which housed seals and a polar bear, has been completely flooded out. The zoo's polar bear, Berlin, had to be tranquilized after she left her exhibit in the ensuing chaos. One of the seals, meanwhile, swam out of the exhibit and made a break for downtown Duluth (a photo of the seal on the loose is below the jump). After a night on the town, it was safety returned to the zoo.

Many other animals, however, drowned as a result of the flooding. For instance, staff say that all but one of the zoo's barnyard animals -- including donkeys, goats, and sheep -- have died. Flooding also consumed the zoo's raven and vulture cases, though the condition of those animals wasn't immediately known.

Peter Pruett, the zoo's director of animal management, said, "obviously, our entire staff is devastated."

Courtesy of Ellie Burcar (via Kyle Matteson's Twitter account), here's a photo of the wild-eyed seal crossing Grand Avenue:

Duluth flooding sets zoo seal free downtown [PHOTOS]

The Carlton County Sheriff's Office is recommending no travel in the county today, except for emergencies, as many roads are washed out and some have been cratered with giant sinkholes. Courtesy of Andrew Krueger, here's a shot of the street scene near Duluth's Whole Foods Coop around 2 this morning:

Duluth flooding sets zoo seal free downtown [PHOTOS]

Finally, courtesy of Megan Olson, here's a photo of a completely washed out rural road in the Duluth area:

Duluth flooding sets zoo seal free downtown [PHOTOS]

With a 100 percent chance of rain in today's Duluth forecast, the flooding probably will get worse before it gets better, unfortunately.

See also:
-- Minnesota's average low temperature rose faster than any other state's since 1970, says new study

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