Flooding updates for Sunday, April 10

Posted at 10:00 AM on April 10, 2011 by Michael Olson, Paul Tosto and MPR News Staff
Filed under: test flood

AT A GLANCE: Red River slowly falling in Fargo-Moorhead... Flooding continues to trouble rural areas of the Red River Valley... Mississippi crest draws near... St. Croix rising, crest expected late this week.

10:00 AM St. Croix on the rise

The Stillwater Lift Bridge remains closed as the St. Croix River continues to rise. The projected crest, expected late next week, could come close to closing Highway 95 between Afton and Bayport and topping the dam on Hudson's Lake Mallalieu in Wisconsin.


9:30 AM Mississippi nears second crest

Upper Landing Park

"The Mississippi is down from the last crest but it will crest again in a few days before it goes back down and we get our walking paths back and get to use Warner road again." Photo credit: Teresa Boardman/Flickr


8:15 AM Rural Red River Valley flood woes continue

Another quick update from MPR's Dan Gunderson on the status of the Red River:
The high water in the Red River is forcing some tributaries to back up in rural areas. That's causing widespread overland flooding. Many rural homes are surrounded by water.

High water will plague rural areas of the Red River valley for several weeks as the River crest slowly rolls north to Canada.

MPR's Bob Collins is blogging from the flood zone and focused on some of the damage happening in rural areas. Here's an image from rural Cass county he took yesterday.

There's more from Bob on News Cut.

8:00 AM Red River falls in Fargo-Moorhead

MPR's Dan Gunderson has the latest from the Fargo-Moorhead area:

Fargo Moorhead officials say they will continue to monitor levees and sandbag dikes for the next couple of weeks as the river slowly falls.

Local officials say they are confident the temporary flood defenses are working well.

North Dakota National Guard troops rescued an 87 year old man north of Fargo Saturday after the sandbag dike around his home failed.


Flooding updates for Saturday, April 9

Posted at 1:35 PM on April 9, 2011 by Jon Gordon

AT A GLANCE: Red River holding steady at just under 39 feet... An inch of rain won't raise levels but could prolong major flood stage... Flood flight "easiest" residents can recall...

1:55 PM Klobuchar, Franken in Moorhead as flood crests

Minnesota's two U.S. Senators congratulated Moorhead officials today on defending the city from its third year of high water.

Senator Amy Klobuchar said she'll push for funding for a long term plan that would minimize future flooding by storing water in retention pools upstream.

"The idea is you retain water like a big pool and then the water may actually recede and you can use the land for farming depending on what you're farming," Klobuchar said.

The Red River is cresting in the Fargo-Moorhead area today. The National Weather Service says the river appears to be leveling off below 39 feet. Up to an inch of rain in the forecast for the weekend isn't expected to change the crest.

(Tom Robertson)

1:35 PM News Cut looks ahead

"If you're not from flood country and you know how much work people like John Brummer of Moorhead have put into protecting their homes from the Red River," writes Bob Collins on News Cut, "you might be tempted to look at the situation as I did last evening and say, 'What a shame, the water never reached your sandbag dike.' And if you're like me, you'd actually say something like that, just to enjoy the look on his face."


11:00 AM A little rain won't hurt?

Weekend rains of up to an inch won't affect levels on the Red River, said National Weather Service Forecaster Jim Scarlet.

"It would be a day or two before all the runoff got in," he said. "The crest would be past by then. Shouldn't have a big effect on the river."

Rain could keep the river high longer, and that could put additional stress on levees and sandbag dikes. The National Weather Service says the Red River will crest in Fargo-Moorhead at around 39 feet some time today. The river leveled off this morning just below 39 feet.

Earlier forecasts called for a river crest of from 39-40 feet. The record flood in 2009 reached 40.8 feet. National guard troops and local residents will continue to monitor dikes around the clock.

(Dan Gunderson)

10:30 AM NWS: Red will crest at about 39 ft.

We're hearing from from MPR News reporter Dan Gunderson that the National Weather Service says the Red River at Fargo-Moorhead could rise another inch or two today, but will crest below 39 feet.

Here's the latest AP story:

Associated Press

FARGO, N.D. (AP) - The Red River neared its spring flooding peak on Saturday, approaching historic highs yet short of the levels that might have cracked the defenses of a city used to dealing with high water.

The National Weather Service said the river appeared to be leveling off as it approached 39 feet. The weather service refined its crest projection to 39 feet by Saturday night, the low end of a range that earlier had been as much as 40 feet, and said up to an inch of rain in the weekend forecast wasn't expected to change the crest.

Both Fargo and neighboring Moorhead, Minn., with a combined population of nearly 200,000, have permanent and temporary dikes and levees to at least 41 feet. The Red's high water was expected to linger late into the week, so closely watching those protections was essential, officials said.

"Things can change," said Col. Michael Price, commander of the Army Corps of Engineers' district office in St. Paul, Minn.

Mayor Dennis Walaker, a former public works director and veteran of several flood fights, said he didn't think the Red would break 39 feet.

The Red River Valley has had three straight years of major flooding.

The record flood of 2009 forced thousands to evacuate, inundated about 100 homes and caused an estimated $100 million in damage. The river crested at 40.84 feet. The river topped out last year at 36.99 feet, the sixth-highest crest on record. Damage last year was minimal.

Fargo and Moorhead have steadily reduced their vulnerability to the Red by buying out homes in flood-prone areas, purchasing miles of quick-install diking systems and making millions of sandbags before they're urgently needed. This winter's heavy snowfall had the cities laying plans for spring flooding far in advance, and construction of sandbag dikes wrapped up Friday in the two cities.

Still, the perennial flood threat is serious. Three people have died in the past week in the Red River Valley, including a farmer who suffered a heart attack while sandbagging and two hunters boating on the flooded Maple River.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

9:35 AM Hmmm, has the Red crested?

The National Weather Service has not yet revised its crest forecast, but here's some evidence the Red may have already reached a peak. Maybe. It's just a tweet.


Earlier this morning, MPR News reporter Dan Gunderson told us that Fargo Mayor Dennis Walaker expects the river to rise only about another inch, cresting below 39 feet. Fargo defenses are built to 41 feet. 42 in Moorhead. Bottom line: if we haven't quite seen a crest, it looks like it's imminent. It's worth pointing out, however, that some weekend rain is in the forecast.

9:25 AM A man and his sump pump

"I've learned over the years that nobody can put a happy face on a flood like Todd Morse of south Moorhead," writes Bob Collins on News Cut.


8:25 AM The Red River from above Winnipeg

The Winnipeg Free Press arranged for a fly-over above the Red River, which flows north into Lake Winnipeg. This is a screen capture. Watch the video here.


8:10 AM Flood-fighting innovation on display

The New York Times takes note of the shift away from lowly sandbags as the primary flood mitigation tool on the Red River. In Fargo-Moorhead this year you'll see things like the Aqua Dam, Aqua Fence, and Trap Bags. Excerpt:

"This is pretty new to have this many products," said Tim Bertschi, a flood engineer for the Army Corps of Engineers.

Mr. Bertschi added that the federal government would be watching closely to see how well these systems worked in coming days.

"It's a real-life test. This isn't laboratory stuff," he said. "But it wouldn't be out there if they didn't think it worked."

The city used about 3 million sandbags in 2009, the year of its worst recorded flood. Last year, the fifth worst, the city filled and stacked 1.5 million. But now, even though an army of volunteers began working earlier than usual at Fargo's "Sandbag Central" and filled nearly 3 million, the city has used only about 500,000 sandbags.

Aqua Dam

7:45 AM Red River headed for crest this morning

The levees are all in place in Fargo-Moorhead, and now residents are awaiting a crest on the Red River. It appears the river is approaching a crest this morning. It's just under 39 feet. That's about a foot and a half below the record flood of 2009. If the current level holds it would be the fourth highest flood in Fargo-Moorhead. But for many residents, it's been the easiest flood fight they can recall.

Fargo resident Jim Papacek looks out on the flooding on the Red River on Friday, April 8, 2011. (MPR Photo/Ann Arbor Miller)

Minnesota flooding updates for Friday, April 8

Posted at 2:45 PM on April 8, 2011 by Michael Olson, Paul Tosto and MPR News Staff

AT A GLANCE: Flooding claims N.D. hunters ... Fargo bolsters levee after cracks appear... Red River "losing steam".... Residents only in Oakport, MN... Grand Forks shuts Sorlie Bridge Saturday.

Continue reading "Minnesota flooding updates for Friday, April 8"

Guarded optimism on the Wild Rice

Posted at 11:47 AM on April 8, 2011 by Paul Tosto

Mara Solberg's been watching uneasily as the Wild Rice River swells toward her home in Horace, N.D., south of Fargo. We've been watching, too.


She and her husband Warren are staying at their house as the Wild Rice rises. In emails and phone conversations over the past week she's been helping us tell a story about life in the 2011 flood.

They aren't out of the water yet. Check out the photos Mara sent us this morning of their farm. Still, there's guarded optimism today. One of the two roads leading to their home is still passable using the tractor. The weather forecast is in their favor.

"I need to bale water out from inside the dike because there is a leak somewhere, but otherwise everything is going as good as can be expected," she wrote.




Things are looking much better for the Wild Rice. At Abercrombie, upstream from the Solbergs, the forecast shows a significant dropoff coming in river levels.


So there's hope that the 2011 flood will pass Mara and Warren with relatively little pain.

Sadly, Mara heard the news on the radio about the two hunters from Buffalo N.D., who were missing and whose bodies were found by the flooded Maple River. "I am from Buffalo, so I am waiting to hear names," she wrote. "I am sure I will know them."

Minnesota flooding updates for Thursday, April 7

Posted at 5:25 PM on April 7, 2011 by Michael Olson, Paul Tosto and MPR News Staff (2 Comments)

AT A GLANCE: Better weekend flood outlook for Fargo-Moorhead... Stillwater Lift Bridge closing Friday morning... Flood related death in Minnesota.

Continue reading "Minnesota flooding updates for Thursday, April 7"

Minnesota flooding updates for Wednesday, April 6

Posted at 4:30 PM on April 6, 2011 by Michael Olson, Paul Tosto and MPR News Staff

AT A GLANCE: Fargo, Moorhead want all flood defenses in place by Friday night... Thunderstorms coming? Dayton OKs emergency declaration for MN flood counties... Stillwater Lift Bridge closing.

Continue reading "Minnesota flooding updates for Wednesday, April 6"

In flood's path, 'Everything that means everything to me'

Posted at 2:30 PM on April 6, 2011 by Paul Tosto (1 Comments)

The Wild Rice River in eastern North Dakota is behaving badly, swelling like it did in 1997 during what was then a record 100-year flood and like it did in 2009, when another 100-year flood came.

Continue reading "In flood's path, 'Everything that means everything to me'"

Minnesota flooding updates for Tuesday, April 5

Posted at 4:55 PM on April 5, 2011 by Jon Gordon

AT A GLANCE: Red River approaches 40 feet at Fargo by Sunday... Mississippi locks shut down to recreational boaters... Better outlook for the Crow... Plug your drains.

Continue reading "Minnesota flooding updates for Tuesday, April 5"

Minnesota flooding updates for Monday, April 4

Posted at 4:45 PM on April 4, 2011 by Jon Gordon

AT A GLANCE: Fargo-Moorhead bridges closing.... Moorhead sandbag delivery starts Tuesday... Red River rising at Fargo to near-record by early next week... Second Minnesota River crest this week will cause problems for Montevideo.... Stress and flowers.

Continue reading "Minnesota flooding updates for Monday, April 4"

Minnesota flooding updates for Friday, April 1

Posted at 5:30 PM on April 1, 2011 by Michael Olson, Paul Tosto and MPR News Staff

AT A GLANCE: Heavy snow, rain possible Sunday... Faster melt alters Red River forecast... Forecasts drop for second Minnesota River crest... Fargo mayor expects 40.5' Red crest.

Continue reading "Minnesota flooding updates for Friday, April 1"

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