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    Despite Record-Breaking Flooding, Escaped Seal Steals Day

    By By Grace Muller, AccuWeather staff writer
    June 23, 2012, 6:04:49 AM EDT

    The National Weather Service (NWS) says June 19 and June 20 was Duluth, Minnesota's wettest two-day period on record. Heavy rain from thunderstorms led to severe flooding Tuesday night across northern Minnesota, including in Duluth, where there was extensive damage from the floodwaters.

    According to the NWS, more than 7 inches of rain fell over a large portion of north-central and northeastern Minnesota, with most of the rain falling in just a few hours' time, drawing comparisons to a historic flood in August 1972.

    While the sheer extent of damage in the area was enough to get national media attention, a picture of an escaped seal from the Lake Superior Zoo posted to website Reddit went viral.

    Brandon Stahl of the Duluth News Tribune reported that "zoo staff said three of its birds had drowned: a turkey vulture, a raven and a snowy owl. Of the barnyard animals, only a miniature horse survived, while six sheep, four goats and a donkey died."

    In a statement from the Lake Superior Zoo: "All zoo animals have been secured. Sadly, the zoo experienced the loss of several animals, among them many of the barnyard residents. Due to flooding, the zoo’s polar bear Berlin was able to exit her exhibit. She was darted by the zoo’s vet and is safe in quarantine. At no time did any dangerous animal leave the perimeter fence."

    Como Park Zoo in St. Paul, Minn., will house the displaced animals from Lake Superior Zoo until employees can restore the park, KARE-TV reports.

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