Friday, March 19, 2010

Red River Valley of the North Flooding: Nostalgia?!

"Red River Flooding Brings Nostalgia"
Kasey-Dee Gardner, via Discovery News (March 18, 2010)

"Almost every spring, cities along the Red River in North Dakota and Minnesota battle fast-rising waters as the winter snow melts into the north-flowing Red River. This year is no different, and in fact, it may be worse than most. This Sunday, the Red River is expected to crest in Fargo at 38 feet. I know this is keeping locals working feverishly, filling and laying over a million sandbags as a last line of defense against the rising waters.

"It's been four flood seasons since I lived in North Dakota and every year when news breaks of the rising river, I get nostalgic for my old home. I lived in Grand Forks during their last major flood in 2006 where the water crested at a stage height of almost 48 feet (usually measured form the bottom of the stream bed). Flood stage for the river is anything over 28 feet. My apartment was only about 100 feet from the infamous river. Across the street from my apartment was a huge cement memorial dedicated to historic flood levels. It's a statue riddled with high-water marks.

"Grand Forks is no stranger to floods. In 1997, the city experienced one of the worst floods in the history of the United States. The Red River crested at 54 feet and spurred the evacuation of over 50,000 residents. Paradoxically, the flood triggered a massive fire in downtown Grand Forks, engulfing the city center. The entire downtown section was destroyed. When I moved to Grand Forks to work as a local news reporter, almost 10 years after this disaster, the city was still rebuilding from the destruction...."

The title didn't sound so crazy after I'd read the article.

It's a good human-interest piece, and gives more background than some more 'serious' articles do, on what happens when the river in some of the flattest land on Earth floods.

You might get the impression that it's nothing but floods in the Red River Valley of the North. I grew up there, and so can report that we also have blizzards, hail, and tornadoes. Boring, the weather isn't: not up there, or here in central Minnesota where I live now.

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