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Flood Fight 2013

FARGO -- City officials say protecting Fargo from flooding this spring will take 1.3 million fewer sandbags than anticipated earlier this week, as a forecast released Wednesday by the National Weather Service spurred officials to dial back flood protection by 2 to 3 feet.

That means after making more than 1 million new sandbags, the Fargo flood fight is now expected to require only 100,000 bags.

Volunteering efforts that were planned today were called off and sandbag deployment is nearly complete, given the less-severe forecast, which predicts a crest between 38 and 40 feet late next week.

Work will begin Friday on building sandbag levees 3 feet lower than the 43-foot level once planned.

“We’re all going to 40 feet. We know what that is. It’s about 100,000 bags,” City Administrator Pat Zavoral said in a flood preparation briefing Wednesday.

A flood forecast released earlier this month had city officials on high alert, ready to throw 1.4 million sandbags to build to 43 feet, with earthen levees going to 44 feet, to defend against a potentially record flood of 41 feet or worse.

The record of 40.84 feet was set in 2009. A crest in Fargo of 38 feet would be the fifth largest in recorded history, about a foot less than 2011 and a foot worse than 2010.

Volunteers logged 40,000 total hours at Sandbag Central over two weeks’ time, making about 1.15 million new sandbags for the city to add to the 685,000 left over from previous flood fights, according to Bruce Grubb, the city’s enterprise director.

But the updated forecast released Wednesday says the Red River here is expected to rise to 37 feet by next Wednesday, with the crest likely by the end of next week -- the range depending in part on a system that could drop heavy rain in the area early next week.

April 29, 2013

FARGO, N.D. (AP) — The flood fight is kicking into high gear in southeastern North Dakota.

The National Weather Service has warned residents in Fargo and Cass County to prepare for record amounts of high water from the Red River and its tributaries. It would be the fourth major flood in five years.

County officials say sandbagging operations were scheduled to begin Monday in outlying areas of Fargo.

Cass County Commissioner Ken Pawluk says residents in rural subdivisions should prepare for record flooding from the Sheyenne River and other Red River tributaries.

Sandbags will be delivered to city residents beginning Tuesday. High school students will help place the bags on Thursday and Friday.

The weather service says the Red River has a 40 percent chance of topping the 2009 record of nearly 41 feet.

Resources helpful in preparing your clients and community for a flood disaster

Strengthening your emotional wellbeing before the flood (APA)

Disaster Distress Hotline: Floods (SAMHSA)

Some Days: Dealing with Flood Stress – Staying Resilient” (ND DHS)

Kit O’Neill

NDPA DRN Coordinator


Updates from Rev. Lee Gale, Dakotas Conference Disaster Response Coordinator for North Dakota. 

A meeting of the Fargo City Commission has just concluded (April 19, 2013).  Mayor Walaker has stated the sandbag deployment in Fargo will begin on Tuesday.  The city is sandbagging to 43 feet.  There is a high percentage that flood stage may reach as high as 42 feet.  Sandbagging will begin on the North end of Fargo and work south.  The plan is to get "everything done" in a week with sandbags and clay diking.  The Governor has 4,000 National Guard ready to deploy to Fargo. 

The City of Grafton this morning is beginning to put in place 18 foot clay dikes.  The Park River has a 95% chance of reaching 15 feet and a 50% chance of reaching 17 feet.  The Park River flows through the north side of town.  With Grafton being built on a flat plain should the dike not hold the river could possibly spread out over 50% or more of the community. 



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