Thursday, March 26, 2009

Grand Forks Flood and Fire, 1997

"The Great Flood of 1997 10 years later"
Minnesota Public Radio (April 18, 2007)

"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...."

Links to video, and other stories. Looks like a pretty good resource.

Grand Forks' downtown area was already flooded when a fire broke out. And spread, since the water system was no longer working.

It could have been worse.

In Kent, Minnesota, Pam and Victoria Wagner died. More at "Some losses from the Red River flood immeasurable"
(April 18, 2007)

"The great flood of 1997 in the Red River Valley brings memories of floating homes and burning buildings. When they talk about the destruction caused by the flood many people say, "Well, at least no one died." In the small town of Kent, Minn., a granite monument is a reminder that the flood took more than buildings...."

Pam and her daughter Victoria had to take a detour and hit water. The car submerged, but they survived and waded to shore. They could see the lights of Kent. Pam and Virginia started walking toward the lights. Normally, staying near the vehicle is a good idea. At night, in April, in Minnesota, around 10 miles north of Wahpeton-Breckenridge, it could take a long time for a search party find you. Dripping wet, with the only nearby source of heat and shelter underwater, odds are you wouldn't last long enough.

Pam carried Virginia at least part of the way. They covered a mile and a half before dying of exposure.

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More-or-less-related posts: List of posts about this flood:

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