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The Great Flood of 199710 Years Later
The flood was a slow-motion disaster, the underpinning of which was a series of blizzards during the previous winter. When the snow melted, the southern end of the Red River flooded. Rain followed, then a freeze. It took almost two weeks for the disaster to reach its zenith in Grand Forks, N.D. By then, the skies were clear, the temperatures warm, and the disaster immense.

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Document Flood memories
Thousands of people lost their homes in the flood of '97. Billions of dollars has been spent rebuilding homes and businesses, but for many people it's still a painful memory.

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Document Remembering the dead
When many people think about the great flood of 1997 they think about flooded homes and burning buildings. When they talk about the destruction caused by the flood many say, "at least no one died." In the small town of Kent, Minnesota a granite monument is a reminder the flood took more than buildings.

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Document Lessons from the flood
While residents rebuilt homes, the National Weather Service had to rebuild its credibility. The agency gets immediate satellite updates of river stages today. Submerged bridges that held back floodwaters in 1997 are now part of the weather service flood model.

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Document A flood changed a newspaper
The Grand Forks Herald's editorial voice went from "shrill to sympathetic" after the 1997 Red River flood disaster, the newspaper's publisher and editor says.

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Document People of the flood
In 1997, Minnesota Public Radio's Dan Gunderson spent several weeks covering the Red River flooding. He prepared this audio montage of the people who fought it.


Document On April 19, 1997, fire broke out in downtown Grand Forks. Even with the city flooded, there was no water available to fight the fire. (Video from Grand Forks Fire Department)


Document Members of the Grand Forks Fire Department patrol downtown by boat. (Video from Grand Forks Fire Department)


Document Grand Forks' video commemorating the 10th anniversary. (Watch)

Back to Grand Forks

Document MPR's Midmorning revisits Grand Forks on Wednesday, April 18 at 10 a.m. CT, to find out how things have changed.


Document MPR Great Flood of 1997
See all the original stories

Document Remembering and Rebuilding
The five-year anniversary of the flood explored.

Document Great Flood of '97 (North Dakota State University)

Document Fargo Flood
North Dakota State University.

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