Red River flood fight moves north of Fargo-Moorheadby Dan Gunderson, Minnesota Public Radio
Fargo, N.D. — As the Red River continues to fall Monday in Fargo-Moorhead, the focus of the flood fight is moving north as the river affects smaller communities.
National Weather Service Meteorologist Greg Gust said the river will be near record levels at Oslo later this week.
"The Red at that point spreads out tremendously, seven, eight, nine miles wide," Gust said. "Any rain that's occurring now is going to be part of the lake that is developing from Grand Forks north through Oslo, near Drayton."
Minnesota National Guard troops are expected to arrive in Oslo Monday to help patrol levees.
Floodwaters are making travel very difficult in parts of the Red River Valley as dozens of roads are under water, including a portion of Interstate 29 north of Fargo.
A stretch of Interstate 29 between Harwood and Argusville, N.D. that has never flooded before is now covered in high waters. Officials with North Dakota's transportation department said access is still possible for local residents.
Some of the highest water levels are from tributaries like the Sheyenne and Maple Rivers. There are many roads closed and Cass County. Sheriff Paul Laney said people have to adhere to detour signs.
"When they see the barricade, it does mean you. [It] doesn't just mean everybody else," Laney said.
Laney said they had a busy day and had to rescue an individual by boat that was stuck in tractor coming back and forth on the roads.
"Those are the types of incidents we're seeing; a number of evacuations out of homes [and] a lot of activity. So far everything is going pretty smooth," he said.
In some cases, the only access to some areas has people driving on detours through low water. Officials ask that people be careful since those roadbeds are soft.
North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple said travel is also very dangerous because some roads are badly eroded. He said road repair will be a big job after the floodwaters recede.
"It doesn't take long at all to add up in to the millions of dollars in damages," Dalrymple said. "So part of this process, once we get through the next couple of days, is to start adding up those estimated costs."
FEMA officials arrived in Fargo on Sunday to start assessing flood damage. FEMA spokesman Ed Conley said some damage assessment will need to wait until the water goes down.
"We know there's a lot more damage out there. We know there's a lot of cost incurred in protective measures," Conley said. "There's no other community in the country that does a better job of fighting to protect its citizens, so we'll take a look at all that. This is not the end of assistance, we're just getting started."
Residents and National Guard troops will monitor levees and dikes this week.