Fargo officials optimistic about this year's flood fightby Dan Gunderson, Minnesota Public Radio
Fargo, N.D. — Fargo officials say they are ready for spring flooding on the Red River.
The National Weather Service says there's a 30 percent chance the river will surpass the record level of 40.84 feet set in 2009 in Fargo and neighboring Moorhead, Minn.
Fargo Mayor Dennis Walaker said the city has been preparing for weeks.
"We've made an awful lot of preparations," he said. "I'm extremely pleased with where we're at in the city of Fargo. Not only with sandbag production but with all the construction of the levee dikes."
Fargo Deputy Mayor Tim Mahoney said the city started the flood fight earlier than ever this year.
"We've had a good month of preparation," Mahoney said. "We're far ahead of where we were in 2009. We only had a week to 10 days to prepare for that."
The city has purchased and demolished dozens of homes along the river and has constructed nearly 7 miles of new earthen levees. Volunteers filled 2.5 million sandbags.
City crews plan to start distributing those sandbags to neighborhoods late next week.
The next National Weather Service flood forecast is scheduled for next Thursday.