At a news conference, Mayor Dennis Walaker says "we are different here in the valley," and says evacuations are not automatic and they will not give up neighborhoods. The CEO of the school, Bruce Messelt says one of the school's dike patrols found the leakage in the school's permanent flood walls. The wall was constructed after the 1997 flood and is built of steel. The water came from underground and not from the wall itself.
(This shows why these seemingly small leaks are so worrisome to people here.)
The buildings are below the river at this point and basements and the first floors are filled, including at a performing arts hall and a gym. "Our buildings can be rebuilt, our students can recover, but God's faithfulness will never be questioned," he said.
(I'm trying to figure out a way of visually showing the changing projections)
"Thank you for that example," Mayor Dennis Walaker of Fargo said sarcastically, obviously a hurting Fighting Sioux fan.
"Thank you for sharing that story," Walaker said. Apparently he's a fan of the rival (and Fargo-based) North Dakota State University.
Maybe he heard Dale Connelly's Radio Heartland last night. The show started with Mavis Staples singing "We will not be moved."
My plan today: I'm heading, again, to Riverview Circle. I've been staying in Rothsay for the last few nights. Roger, who runs the Comfort Zone Inn, provides excellent Ole and Lena jokes. We need more Ole and Lena jokes right around now.
But it takes awhile for me to get back in the area, and I usually have to stop and restock some of my provisions, and then it takes me a fair amount of time to quickly check how everyone's doing, and write a post. So I apologize in advance that it may be a few hours until I get to post the next update, but let's just assume no news is good news.6 Comments)
Fargo Mayor Dennis Walaker today urged people to keep their humor to keep the stress down. They didn't have to tell John Brummer and his son, Danny, this morning. John was unfazed by the obvious water hazard that's appeared in the last week in their Moorhead neighborhood.
Sunday has brought a sense of relief to Riverview Circle, but not a sense of victory. Not quite yet anyway, or at least not to the extent where people seem willing to jinx their improving fortunes by exhaling.
The water flowing into the street has slowed remarkably. Compare the amount coming out of the pump hose with previous pictures (also note the dark ring on the trees showing the dropping water level).
But that's not entirely good news. The slower flow means it's hitting the bottom of the dike and potentially creating a weak spot. With help from Moorhead firefighters, firefighters from other cities, the Morses next door, and the Brummer family, a solution is devised.
Adam Stewart places a ladder out in the river, and landscape lumber is used to hold the hose farther out.
With that done, the neighbors, family, and firefighters haul sandbags -- many of which are unfortunately frozen -- to reinforce the dike. The best weapon the Red River Valley has against the flood has been its own ingenuity.
Out front, reunions are taking place. Donna Morse hasn't seen, John Brummer's wife, Jeanie, since all of this started.
Bruce Johnson stopped over for an update from the Morses.
Bruce left shortly thereafter. "I have to go check a pump," he said.
And other neighbors are emerging to catch up on one another's status.
I stopped over to the Johnsons first today. I had intended to bring doughnuts to all three families, but the stores are mostly out. The Johnsons got my meager offerings today. Vikki's parents have arrived today, the basement is still dry, and they were able to get some sleep.
The neighborhood is still very quiet.The one portable toilet on the street has been removed. "That's a good thing," Vikki says. It means someone -- somewhere -- thinks the sewage and water system will hold up.
Firefighters are walking the street in groups, as other fire vehicles -- I saw one from Savage awhile ago -- drive the riverfront. They've worked incredibly hard. And deserve a break and a check-in to see how their own families are faring.
Nobody thinks this fight is over. But a few moments of humor, an occasional bit of relaxation, and the well-timed visit from a neighbor is an account from which the Riverview Circle folks can withdraw when and if the river makes its next move.
Update 1:44 p.m. - The latest river projection is very encouraging. The level was expected to go up today, now it's projected to go straight down.
At the current level, this side of the street may be out of danger by next Saturday. The river may drop much faster than expected earlier today.
(Please note: I know a lot of folks are coming to this blog for the first time. Our navigation isn't very good for following a single-theme over many days. So if you'd like to follow all of the flood posts, go here. Start at the bottom and work your way up. And thanks for stopping by!)(2 Comments)
There is no high drama to tell you about on Riverview Circle today. People are sitting in garages with "hot dish" and BBQ and coffee and beer -- as the Johnsons were doing at lunchtime, or standing in driveways at the Brummer household, or in the backyard kicking ice and shooting the breeze at the Morse home.
The Brummer's railing on the stairs down to what once was -- and will soon be again -- their backyard, has reappeared.
An Excelsior firefighter, walking the dike, stopped to chat with Todd Morse and I awhile ago. He's been here since Friday, staying at the high school, but mostly has been out in these neighborhoods. About three dozen firefighters from Carver County are here and most are going back tonight. Why? He has to go back to work tomorrow.
That's the thing with the sacrifices many of the out-of-town volunteers; they've got real jobs to get back to on Monday. For this guy, it'll be a long drive back, and a short night's sleep.
I'm hearing more of that from residents now -- talk of work and real life resuming.
Today, from what I hear, a resident from up the road took a kayak down the river. Three Coast Guard Sea Fury helicopters made sure he got the message.
Meanwhile, the furniture has been taken off the counters at Todd and Donna Morse's house. It's true that anything can still go wrong, but the reality is that the amount of pressure the water has exerted on this sandbag wall is markedly reduced.
The face of the neighborhood doesn't tell the story of this week as well as the hands of the neighborhood. John's are raw from 8 days of near-steady work.
Others have rings of Band Aids, the wounds of a battle nearly won. My hands are embarrassingly healthy.
I won't be the one to jinx things by saying the 'flood is over,' because it certainly isn't. But barring unforeseen events overnight, by tomorrow evening, I'll probably be making the trip home, too.
Somewhere in the Morse house, there's a bottle of champagne that will get opened when the water drops below 37 feet. The latest river projection suggests that will be sometime between 1 and 2 o'clock next Saturday afternoon.4 Comments)