Lost in all the coverage of fires in Arizona, the tornadoes of Missouri and Minnesota and a government shutdown in the state is this item: A good share of Minot, North Dakota is about to be washed away.
The flooding around the country, caused by spring rains and snow melt, defies most attempts to describe it. The Souris River, in Minot's case, is likely to crest at 1,564.3 feet on Saturday. There's no point in trying to sandbag against it; that's 8 feet higher than the all-time record, according to the Minot Daily News.
The numbers were crunched for several hours at the NWS Hydrologic Forecast Center in Chanhassen, Minn., Monday. What they came up with was an initial high of 1,564.3 feet at Minot's Broadway Bridge by Saturday. As early as Thursday evening the river is projected to surpass its all-time high of 1,558 feet. Those numbers, astronomical in terms of flows in the Souris, only reflect the initial blow to be dealt the city and is subject to further increase as the situation develops and hydrologic outlooks project further into the future.
The crowd at Monday's City Hall press conference sat in stunned silence, followed by a few brief murmurs, when it was revealed that releases into the Souris from Lake Darling Dam would be ramped up to "16 or 17,000 cfs by Thursday." Minot's existing dike system laborously protects against 10,000 cfs. The previous high release for Lake Darling prior to this flood event was less than 5,000 cfs. Numbers all along the Souris are similarly stunning, shocking and, ultimately, saddening.
Parts of Minot are being evacuated. What makes the situation even more of a punch in the gut is area residents thought they had beat the flood earlier this month when the water receded a bit.
Amtrak is suspending train service between St. Paul and Montana because of the flooding.
The Mississippi River is also heading higher. It could be a foot below flood stage by this time next week.
Meanwhile, down in Texas, they can't catch a break or get a drop of rain.
I posted this to facebook and within a couple minutes I had responses from two people. One with a sister in Minot and one with a close friend. Both of those Minot residents fully expect to lose their home.
I have in-laws who live in Minot that were of the 11,000 who had to evacuate. It's a blessing that they had time to pack up their belongings and also that they have a place to stay. It's scary not knowing what will become of their home.
I am a state worker for MN and am not sure whether I will have my job or not in a week if the state government shuts down. This seems devastating to me. But imagining losing my home and possibly not being able to return to the place where I started my family...wow. I can't imagine. I am praying for the folks in Minot.