Red River's second crest forecast shows lower water levelsby Dan Gunderson, Minnesota Public Radio
A second crest on the Red River in Fargo-Moorhead this week is now expected to be lower than earlier projected. But forecasters caution a large storm system could still bring heavy rain to the region late this week. Meanwhile, tributaries of the Red River continue to flood rural areas of eastern North Dakota.
Moorhead, Minn. — The Red River is rising slowly in Fargo-Moorhead and officials will activate dike patrols again later this week.
The River is now expected to crest by this weekend at 38 feet. The first crest in late March was at 40.6 feet.
"We're not going to say we have won. It's still too early in the process," said Fargo Mayor Dennis Walaker. "There are some significant rains coming from the south and the west this weekend. Not until the river gets down to 31 feet and is continuing to fall will I consider that we've won the battle."
The storm clouds on the horizon for late this week inject some uncertainty in the river forecast.
"The potential is there to get a half to three-quarters of an inch of rainfall in eastern North Dakota," said National Weather Service forecaster Dave Kellenbenz. "Some locally higher amounts of up to an inch or over an inch possible. So that's something with the high flows we're tracking very closely."
There's a chance the storm system will be over the area Thursday, Friday and Saturday and Kellenbenz says it's too early to pinpoint where the heaviest rain will fall.
He says the greatest flood impact would likely be on tributaries to the Red River.
The Sheyenne River which flows into the Red, is near record levels. Dozens of rural homes are surrounded by water, roads are impassable.
The small community of Valley City, North Dakota was partially evacuated after a levee failed. Crews repaired the breach, but record high water is expected there for much of this week.
As a result, Fargo is sending some of its reserve sandbags to smaller communities facing high water.
"What we realized in some of our neighborhoods, we have extra sandbags we can send out," Fargo City commissioner Tim Mahoney. "In the communities that have need we might as well help them out. The test will be Valley City and Lisbon. If they have need, well, we have a huge community that helped us out. So we say whatever you need we'll send out there."
Rising water is flooding hundreds of roads in eastern North Dakota, including parts of I-94 and 29.
Law enforcement officials say secondary roads are especially dangerous.
A 27-year-old man is missing and presumed drowned after his vehicle was swept of a road northwest of Grand Forks this weekend.
- All Things Considered, 04/13/2009, 5:25 p.m.