Fargo, N.D., Prepares as Red River Approaches Historic Levels

March 27, 2009

The National Weather Service says the Red River reached record stage in Fargo, N.D., overnight and one of the levees was breeched. The river had risen to 40.18 feet early on March 27, breaking a 112-year-old record on its way to a projected crest of up to 43 feet. The previous high water mark was 40.10 feet, set April 7, 1897.

The Disaster News Network reported that forecasters expect the high crest to continue for three to seven days.

The Fargo city officials have issued a mandatory evacuation of all residences east of 4th Street South between South River Road and Lindenwood Drive, due to a flood levee breech at Linden Avenue, East of 4th Street South. Residents of this area of the city were instructed to proceed west of the neighborhood. Meanwhile, Fargo’s Police Department reminded evacuees to turn off their water and plug their sewer drains before they evacuate.

President Barack Obama earlier this week declared the entire state of North Dakota a disaster area in response to widespread flooding.

The Associated Press reported that Fargo Mayor Dennis Walaker described 41 feet (12.5 meters) as “uncharted territory,” noting the Red’s record high at Fargo was 40.1 feet (12.2 meters) in 1897. Walaker said he was still confident the city would beat the flood, but that contingency plans were needed.

Officials said they would build their dikes a foot higher than planned, to 43 feet (13 meters) and they were putting out a call for volunteers to help.

The AP also reported that the Missouri River had lowered two feet at Bismarck, N.D., easing the flood threat to that city after demolition crews broke un ice jam to the south of Bismarck that had caused water to back up behind it. To the west, officials in Bismarck said the Missouri River had lowered 2 feet (60 centimeters) easing the flood threat to that city. Also, demolition crews blasted chunks of ice Wednesday to break up an ice jam that was causing water to back up behind it.

Topics Flood

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