Fighting floodwaters is a rite of spring along the Red River of the North; five of the top 10 floods on the Red River have occurred since 2001. Click to read more.
Fighting floodwaters is a rite of spring along the Red River of the North; five of the top ten floods on the Red River have occurred since 2001.
The river flows to the north through one of the flattest landscapes in the world, carrying spring melt into areas where ice and snow are still frozen. The backup creates widespread flooding which can be exacerbated by spring rains.
The river set an all-time record flood level of 40.8 feet in Fargo-Moorhead in 2009. Since then, the communities have spent many millions of dollars to make improvements in flood protection by moving homes and buildings and building new permanent levees and dikes. However in many places, sandbags still provide temporary protection from the flood waters.
A 35-mile diversion that would channel some of the flood water around Fargo-Moorhead is in the planning stages. However the $1.8 billion dollar project still requires federal funding approvals and will take nearly a decade to construct.
The cities of Fargo, N.D. and Moorhead, Minn. have purchased and removed hundreds of flood-prone homes along the Red River since the record flood of 2009. As a result, the cities require fewer sandbags and less manpower when fighting floods now. The region is gearing up for another major flood this year.
Residents of Fargo-Moorhead are cleaning up sandbags and removing temporary levees after the Red River's crest last week. As it turned out, most of that preparation wasn't needed for this year's flood. Both cities are now turning their attention back to building permanent levees and flood walls.
The apparent false alarm about Red River flooding this year irritated some residents who questioned why the city spent $2 million preparing for the flood that wasn't. And that irritated Fargo Mayor Dennis Walaker, who has sparred with the weather service himself in the past.
The Red River in Fargo is beginning to recede. The river peaked early Wednesday at an unofficial mark of 33.32 feet, which is more than 15 feet above flood stage.
The Red River at Fargo crested today at a little more than 33 feet, about eight feet lower than what the National Weather Service forecast just two weeks ago. The NWS says it will review its forecasting process in the wake of the off-base prediction.
As the Red River in Fargo-Moorhead crests Wednesday at levels well-below what was forecast last week, local leaders are turning their attention to permanent flood protection.
Even though the 2013 Red River flood is not as severe as the National Weather Service initially forecasted, it still made for dramatic images.
The National Weather Service on Tuesday lowered the expected peak of the river to 34 feet, down from the 35.5-foot estimate that came out Monday and the 37-foot projection that was issued on Sunday.
Certainties are few when it comes to springtime in the Red River Valley. While the rising Red River will make history for latest crest, the official crest forecast for the Red at Fargo-Moorhead is 34 feet -- quite a bit lower than previous forecasts which had prompted flood fighters to stockpile 1.7 million sandbags. More than 8,350 volunteers put in 43,971 hours over 16 days at Fargo's Sandbag Central to churn out those sandbags. Photographer Ann Arbor Miller asked volunteers working at Sandbag Central last week for their insight on flood season. Volunteers wrote their thoughts on an empty sandbag with a black marker.
The National Weather Service on Monday lowered the expected crest forecast in Fargo and Moorhead, Minn., to 35.5 feet on Wednesday. That's down from the 37-foot prediction issued Sunday.
With the region finally thawing out from another unusually snowy winter and the river again rising, local leaders are using this year's communitywide campaign to build support for a 36-mile canal that would steer the floodwater around Fargo and neighboring Moorhead, Minn., and fix the area's nagging problem once and for all.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers spent the day Saturday building levees in Fargo to protect against the rising Red River.
In what's almost become a city-wide tradition, Fargo residents went about building sandbag defenses on Friday to hold back the rising Red River.
Fargo Mayor Dennis Walaker said after talks this morning with the National Weather Service, a Red River flood crest forecast of 37 to 38 feet is not a shot in the dark. That may signal another slight reduction in the crest estimates that have been dropping over the past week.
After a revised forecast, Fargo is downsizing efforts to fight. Red River flooding. The revision from the National Weather Service on Wednesday means fewer sandbags will be needed to prepare for a river crest expected late next week.
Conditions in the Red River Valley indicate the communities might be facing a reduced flood risk. The late spring melt could actually be improving the flood outlook.