Posted at 2:45 PM on April 8, 2011
by Michael Olson, Paul Tosto and MPR News Staff
Happily, no jumps.
Moorhead Mayor Mark Voxland told lawmakers money spent to buy flood-prone homes is an investment. Voxland says local residents and businesses suffer every time the city fights another flood.
"Our economy comes to a screeching halt," Voxland said. "So when we start talking about flood protection it isn't just to protect homes. It's to protect this economy we have going in this part of Minnesota."
Moorhead has received about $25 million in state hazard mitigation funds over the past two years. Voxland said the city needs another 16. 5 million to finish it's short term flood protection projects.
The mayor of Georgetown, a small town north of Moorhead, told legislators her community is forced to build expensive emergency levees every year because it doesn't have adequate permanent levees.
"Three-point-five million dollars is what I'm asking for," said Traci Gobel. "One time, so you don't have to keep coming in to my community and spending $100,000 a day. Sending in the national guard to patrol. I'm begging for your help. This has gotta stop at some point. It's ridiculous."
(Dan Gunderson)tells a Fargo radio station the Red River could crest there by Saturday "and we're going to be probably under 39 feet." That would be a huge bullet dodged. Officials had been expecting a crest of between 39 and 40 feet this weekend, below current flood defenses but still uncomfortably high.
The most recent National Weather Service chart is still predicting a Sunday crest above 39 feet.
Mahoney, though, told the station that the projected drop in the Wild Rice River at Abercrombie is good news for Fargo. The Wild Rice is a major Red River tributary.
"We're moving it (crest projection) up because Abercrombie crested already and is dropping down and we usually get it 24 to 36 hours after that," he said.
"If you see the (Red) river now it's starting to lose steam."MPR News reporter Dan Olson says. He writes:
Normally the treated effluent flows into the Mississippi River, but the river is higher than the stream, so the gates have been closed. Here's how the Metropolitan Council describes what's happening:
At normal river levels, the plant's treated wastewater can simply flow through an outfall to the river by gravity. At flood stage, the plant closes gates at the outfall to keep the swollen river from backflowing into the plant, and activates large pumps to push the treated wastewater into the river. These measures were put into place on March 22, and will continue as long as necessary.The emergency back-up plan in case of a historic flood was to use helicopters to get employees to and from work at the sprawling plant. But that won't be necessary at this point.
The latest flood update from the city of St. Paul shows an estimated second crest of the Mississippi at 19.3 feet by Monday. The first crest was at 19.01 feet on March 30.warning drivers this afternoon to "exercise extreme caution on county roads. Numerous roads are either closed or have restricted travel due to water on the road surface." With clay levees, water on roads and rain coming, "surfaces have become very slippery. Drivers must pay attention to the conditions on each road surface they drive on." Forum reports that Fargo crews are adding truckloads of clay to widen the Second Street emergency levee in downtown. The paper quotes Fargo engineer Mark Bittner saying the additional clay will reinforce the dike and alleviate any concerns about the structure's stability after cracks began to appear along the top.
Thanks to MPR's Molly Bloom for turning them into a slide show.
Got a view on the 2011 floods or a photo to share? Share them with us.200 soldiers and airmen have been activated for flood duty in western Minnesota. They began work today patrolling levies and dikes in Moorhead, Oakport Township and Georgetown. say they'll close the Sorlie Bridge on Demers Ave. on Saturday at noon as flood waters continue to rise.
The Red River was at 41.4 feet as of 11:30 am and the National Weather Service currently projects a crest of between 50-52 feet sometime next week, the city said. The Cities are building defenses to about 60 feet.closed it this morning because of the swollen St. Croix.
The St. Croix will stay cranky through the next week but is expected to go no higher than minor flood stage.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."
Volunteers and homeowners handing sandbags down the line in Fargo got a few surprises this year.
The North Dakota State University sandbag art project decorated thousands of sandbags like this one spotted atop a pile of unused bags in a south Fargo neighborhood.
The project was the idea of Michael Strand, associate professor of visual arts at NDSU. He took several thousand empty sandbags and distributed them to places like daycare centers and senior living facilities. The bags were decorated with permanent markers.They were then added to the stacks of sandbags filled earlier this year at sandbag central in Fargo.
Strand said the idea was to maybe bring a smile to tired sandbaggers. He also used it as a teaching tool for his art students.
"It gets our students to think about the inclusion of community with their own work," he said. "Art can exist as creative activity, community outreach, research and service all at the same time."
It's likely Fargo will have more than a million unused sandbags left over from this years flood fight. The plan is to store them in a warehouse for the next flood. So some of the sandbag art could show up in sandbag lines during the next flood too.
County road 26 north of Oakport into North Dakota is also closed now because of water on the road, he said.
Sunday evening thunderstorms are the main concern, he said. Besides making it miserable for those maintaining the dikes, the storms could extend the crest. After that, though, the weather looks like it will cooperate, he said.
"We're not looking for heavy, widespread rains that would caused the river to come up."
The Red is expected to hit 39.5 feet over the weekend. Flood defenses are in place to about 43-44 feet.
Moorhead Mayor Mark Voxland told reporters the physical work of building the flood defenses will be done by the end of the day. "We're kind of in the boring part of the flood fight...now it's wait and see," he said.
"It's a nonevent right now but that's really kind of deceptive," he added, noting the river is now at the fourth highest level on record. "It's still a threat out there, just like a wild animal. You just don't know what it's going to do."
Residents he said should not be using sump pumps to drain water into the sewers. Too much and it could overload the system.fascinating photos of Fargo and Moorhead before and during the 2011 flood. It's great stuff where you can slide over and watch the same image change as the Red River rises.
Here's a link. Here's a glimpse at what's there.KFGO reports the bodies of two missing beaver hunters have been found in the Maple River in Cass County, N.D. "Authorities using aircraft and boats had been searching for the two who were reported missing just after 9 p.m. Thursday. A Blackhawk helicopter spotted the hunters' overturned boat and their bodies were located in the river just before 8:30. The men are 59 and 67. Both are from that area and had been hunting beaver for decades."
North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple met with Fargo officials this morning. While President Obama issued an emergency declaration for the region yesterday, Dalrymple would prefer a major disaster declaration because that frees up federal assistance money.
"We are being told that there is a new policy where they are holding off on the major declaration until they see the extent of the event and then they come back and add up damages and participation in costs," he said. "We don't think that's a very good way of doing things."
Nearly 400 members of North Dakota national guard are on the Fargo side of the river to monitor the dikes and levees.
The Cass County Sheriff's Office says the 59- and 67-year-old men from Buffalo were reported missing by their families Thursday night, and deputies found the hunters' pickup truck along the river. Chief Deputy Jim Thoreson tells The Forum newspaper that authorities early Friday also found the men's boat.
The river is flowing fast because of spring flooding. Authorities are searching by air and on the ground with boats and all-terrain vehicles.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
"The is the calmest flood I've ever covered," said MPR News reporter Dan Gunderson on Morning Edition. Gunderson has been covering Red River flooding from his perch in Moorhead since 1988. Notes from Dan's Morning Edition talk:
-Temporary levees and dikes are mostly complete. Miles of protection have been put in place.
-Over night the rate of rise began to slow, which is good because it indicates that the river is heading near crest stage.
-The Red is approaching 39.5' -- that would be the 3rd highest.
-Beautiful sunny day today but there's a chance of 1/2 inch of rain over the weekend.
Two new airboats recently acquired by the Cass County (N.D.) Sheriff's Department took to the water for an inaugural launch south of Fargo on Thursday. While the boats have been in the water for training and patrolling, Thursday's outing offered local officials - as well as journalists representing news organizations - a firsthand experience. MPR Photo/Ann Arbor Miller
MPR's Mark Seeley tells Phil Picardi on Morning Edition to expect a warm and wet weekend. Seeley says the snow season is over, or at least that the trend now looks more like rain than snow. The Fargo-Moorhead area could get a 1/4 to a 1/2 inch of rain on Sunday. Heavier rain in the south of Minnesota could lead to higher river levels there.
Seeley also adds that a shutdown of the federal government would not impact the forecasts from NOAA.
More from FEMA
MPR Newscast: The National Weather Service has lowered its projected flood crest for the Red River in Fargo-Moorhead by a foot. Forecasters say the river could crest as early as Sunday between 39 and 40 feet. Previous estimates put the river as high as 41-feet. City officials will be watching to see how some new flood fighting products perform. In Fargo, engineers have deployed water filled tubes in a few locations as a way to hold back floodwaters. Also being used for the first time this year is a product called a TrapBag, which resembles large sandbags that can be linked together and filled quickly.
Governor Mark Dayton has called an emergency meeting today of the state Executive Council to consider a 30-day extension of a state of emergency he declared in 46 counties that could be potentially impacted by flooding.