Sunday, March 22, 2009

Red River Valley of the North Flood, 2009: March 22

I used to live in Fargo, and grew up in Moorhead, across the river: so I'm more aware of this flood, than I am of most.

A Foot Higher and a Day Earlier

As things stand now, the Red River of the North at Fargo, North Dakota, will crest at 40 feet, give or take a foot, on Friday. That's a day earlier and a foot higher than an earlier prediction.

When they started getting ready for this year's flood, officials in Fargo figured they'd need around 1,000,000 sandbags. Today, they hope they can get the 1,900,000 sandbags they'll need filled and in place: in time. That means they'll need to get around 450,000 sandbags filled each day.

Sandbags are in garages in Fargo tonight, to keep them from freezing. "You can't place frozen sandbags. They're just like rocks, and they leak like sieves," is the way Fargo's mayor, Dennis Walaker, put it. (AP)

This flood could be very bad. The crest of the 1997 flood at Fargo was 39.6 feet: just about what's predicted for Fargo this Friday.

Fargo: First Stop on the Way North

The news is still focusing on Fargo, but the flood crest will keep moving north after it passes Fargo-Moorhead. Places like Kragnes (892), Georgetown (880), Perley (892), Hendrum (865), Halstad (872), Shelly (865) and Caledonia (860), aren't getting as much attention: but they're in for rough times, too. Those numbers are feet above sea level. Fargo is at 900 feet, for the most part.

Then, there are larger places, like Grand Forks and East Grand Forks, and Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Flooding: It's Not Just the Red River Valley of the North

There's a flood watch in effect until Monday evening for a dozen central and west central Minnesota counties: Chippewa, Douglas, Kandiyohi, Lac Qui Parle, Meeker, Pope, Renville, Stearns, Stevens, Swift, Todd, Yellow Medicine.

The good news around here is that everything isn't as marvelously flat as the Red River Valley of the North, so we don't get the expansive floods. Besides, this flood watch is more a matter of looking out for ponds in underpasses, an keeping an eye out if you live down near a stream.

In the news: More: List of posts about this flood:

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