Be sure to check out Nate Minor's excellent series of before/after pictures that he's posted comparing the stages f the Red River.
The river has risen about 20 feet since the winter, most of it in the last week.
Here's an example looking out at it from the home of John Brummer in south Moorhead in February...
.. and yesterday (photo by Amie Ressler)
You may recall an earlier picture I posted from the river's point of view...
Despite the better preparations, the flood of 2011 is certainly extracting a bigger human toll than previous floods.
I wrote yesterday about the death of a man in Oakport Township (just north of Moorhead), now comes word that two hunters are missing.
At this morning's flood meeting of officials in Fargo, Cass County authorities said two hunters from Buffalo are missing along the Maple River. Cass County Chief Deputy Jim Thoreson said the men's boat was found, but the men are still missing. They were on a beaver hunting trip.
Their pickup had been found earlier.
The Maple empties into the Red River in Fargo.
(Update 9:49 a.m.) - The bodies were found this morning.
Here's my talk with Phil Picardi this morning on MPR's Morning Edition:
The water is reaching the third-highest crest since 1997. This interesting graphic from the US Geological Survey compares recent floods on the Red River:
A legislative committee is in the region today touring the river. It holds the key to money for flood mitigation efforts. In some ways, I've wondered whether the relative "calm" surrounding this flood will reduce the urgency to spend money on the mitigation and river diversion plans.
It would be fascinating sometime for an economist to study what the annual flooding does for an area economy. Obviously, fighting a flood is expensive, but it's also great for some businesses. Construction companies have all the work they can handle with large equipment and hauling clay. John Brummer told me the story last night of an initial bid for clay (used for dikes) that the south Minneapolis area sought over the winter. $20 a cubic yard. A few weeks ago, it was $60. Eventually, they found it for $30.
Hotels don't seem anywhere near as full as 2009; there are other national stories that are keeping the outside reporters away. But the people who have come to the area have to eat somewhere. And people are still buying sump pumps, plastic, and equipment from the local hardware stores.
No kid who grew up loving a good pick-up game of baseball can forget the kind of memories that likely still exist behind the backstop here in Georgetown, Minnesota, about 15 miles north of Moorhead.
The town's kids played under the lights -- or in the shadow of the giant grain elevator if it was a day game. A well-placed foul ball might bounce off one of the cars of the railroad train passing by. Life was good in small-town Minnesota.
Today, Georgetown literally buried baseball.
The Army Corps of Engineers told the city it had to increase its permanent levee against the Buffalo River. But some property owners in town were refusing to let the city use the clay on their property.
So it used the old baseball field in town instead.
In truth, baseball was already dead in Georgetown, just as it is in many small towns in Minnesota. Kids don't play pickup games, anymore, and that's if there still are enough kids in a town like Georgetown, population 150.
"We haven't used it in years," one city official said.
At Target Field's opening day today, perhaps there should be a moment of silence for a forgotten diamond in Georgetown.
Not everyone -- or at least, everything -- is particularly upset about the flooding in western Minnesota. These birds -- I'm not smart enough to know what they are, and not dumb enough to guess here -- enjoyed Lake UsedToBeABarleyField along US 75 in Kragnes, Minnesota, north of Moorhead, today.
The water has closed most east-west roads in the area, so people who live nearby are parking along the highway and wading into their neighborhoods.(7 Comments)
If some young man in Fargo Moorhead can't buy a corsage for his date for the prom, this is why...
The Red River can't fit under the bridge on 60th Ave South, south of Moorhead anymore, so it's taking the long way around and cutting off the home of John and Cecelia Beecher. Cecelia is a florist and if she leaves to go to work -- she makes most of the corsages at her shop -- she might not be able to get home. Her employer, figuring the floods might disrupt things, cut the number of corsage orders she'd accept in half.
That leaves Cecelia too much time to sit home and look out the picture window at her house. She's the worrier in the family, a worthy yin to John's yang of calm, at least when it comes to the flood.
In the more rural part of Clay County, preparing for a flood is a different animal from the cities. Nobody delivers sandbags; nobody delivers sand. Volunteers often don't show up.
This year, the Beechers' neighbor bought a load of sand, and the sheriff's department brought some "volunteers" over to fill the bags...
The house (shown below from the vantage point on the closed bridge) should be fine. It's on fairly high ground. That wouldn't be the case had ice not left the river a day or so ago. An ice jam would've left the neighborhood in a bad way.
Even so, some neighbors are underwater...
The Red is staging a fairly aggressive assault this year. Compare the height today...
With where it stood in February...
The channel is well beyond the trees in the background, and far below the deck of the bridge.
The Beechers think the water might be starting to recede (although the depth of the water I walked through to get to the home had risen a bit by the time I left), allowing them to think about the clean-up. The media doesn't usually show up to cover the deconstruction of sandbag dikes, but it's work that's often the hardest part of the flood.
This video could've been shot just about anywhere in the Red River valley. Fields are flooded, ditches are full and -- at least for city slickers -- it's two-hands-on-the-wheel to keep from driving into six feet of water.
Some people don't have those concerns:
(h/t: Molly Bloom)(3 Comments)