Friday, April 3, 2009

Red River Valley of the North Flood, 2009: April 3: News Added As I find It

6:00 p.m.
"Manitoba faces 'unprecedented' ice conditions"
The Canadian Press, via (April 3, 2009) (1 1/2 hour ago)

"WINNIPEG -- Officials in Manitoba are considering the unusual step of operating the Winnipeg floodway before ice has melted to save the city from a serious deluge when the Red River crests next week.

"Steve Topping, director at Manitoba Water Stewardship, said activating the floodway next Wednesday as river levels rise to just over six metres could spare some neighbourhoods.

"But he said using the floodway early creates the potential of ice jams around city bridges and rising water levels south of the city...."

"...This year has been particularly difficult on flood fighters. Not only are some homes being threatened by the crest of the river, but many are affected by ice jams or blocked culverts that leave melting snow with nowhere to go.

Ice jams have already flooded some homes in communities around Lockport, north of Winnipeg. Almost 800 people from Roseau River First Nation were also forced to leave their homes, although half of them have now been allowed to return.

As I wrote a few days ago, I hope Premier Gary Doer is right, when he said that the Fargo situation won't be repeated in Manitoba. I've noticed that natural forces are notorious for ignoring official pronouncements.
5:45 p.m.
"Montana Guard lends hand, helicopters in North Dakota"
Missoulian (April 2, 2009) (18 hours ago)

"GRAND FORKS, N.D. - They learned their lesson well here, back in the flood of 1997.

"But from a Montana National Guard Chinook helicopter, the devastation set loose on Grand Forks by an overflowing Red River a dozen years ago is clearly visible once again for long stretches north and south of this city, which built a system of levees and dikes after the most recent '100-year' flood.

"From a height of 400 to 600 feet, the CH-47 - CH stands for Cargo Helicopter - pounds up and down the swollen Red River. Farmhouses sit completely surrounded by water - at least, the lucky ones that aren't filled with water...."

This is a pretty good look at Coast Guard activity in the Grand Forks-East Grand Forks area - and a reminder that the flood is moving north.
5:40 p.m.
"Air Boats Patrol Rural Areas Near Grand Forks"
WCCO (April 1, 2009)

"As the Red River continues to rise near Grand Forks, federal and local officials are patrolling rural areas in airboats to check on residents who might be stranded.

"U.S. Coast Guard spokesman Lionel Bryant says an airboat made one evacuation on Wednesday in Grand Forks County, and he expected there would be more in the coming days. Two Coast Guard airboats and two Fish and Wildlife Service airboats are working both north and south of Grand Forks...."

That may be the same Coast Guard airboat in video footage I linked to yesterday.
4:50 p.m.

Back to the Dikes?

"Forecaster: Red River may return to record level
The Associated Press (April 3, 2009) (2 hours ago)

"FARGO, N.D. (AP) — There's a good chance the swollen Red River separating North Dakota and Minnesota will return to a dangerously high level by late April, forecasters said Friday.

"Mark Frazier of the National Weather Service said there was a 75 percent chance that the river will reach or surpass 41 feet, slightly higher than last week's record level that caused flooding in both states. There's a 25 percent chance it will reach 42.8 feet or higher, he said...."

Oh, my: this is not the sort of thing we like to see around here.

The good news is that substantial dikes are already in place. The bad news is obvious.

Of course a 25% chance is far from a sure thing. And I am not going to go off on a tangent about statistics. I've posted about that sort of thing before:
4:40 p.m.
"CP Rail adjusts to Red River flood conditions"
Reuters (April 2, 2009)

"SASKATOON, Saskatchewan, April 2 (Reuters) - The risk of flooding along the Red River has forced Canadian Pacific Railway (CP.TO) to reroute shipments, including grain, that normally flow from Canada into North Dakota.

"Starting Friday at noon CDT (1700 GMT), CPR will reroute trains from the Canadian city of Winnipeg west to the province of Saskatchewan and into North Dakota, said Mike LoVecchio, spokesman for the railway...."

The Red River of the North's flood this year is affecting people who aren't in the Red River Valley near Fargo. Quite a lot of traffic normally runs through the area: and, as the Reuters article points out, things are a bit suboptimal in the Valley just now.
I haven't been able to verify this, but I suspect that floods in this area are partly responsible for a five-hour Internet/phone/cable blackout yesterday evening. (April 3, 2009)

Flood-related posts: List of posts about this flood:

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