River at record, fight goes on

Posted March 27th, 2009 by kcorliss. Comment (0).

As of right now the reading is 40.78 feet in Fargo, an all-time record. Or at least since we began keeping records in the late 1800s. The city of Fargo is done building dikes and has taken up a monitoring posture as of this time.

It’s absolutely surreal. The city is non-stop, 24/7, utter controlled chaos with roads closed, evacuations here and there, dikes being raised and hearts being broken as some homes lose the battle with the raging Red River. Today I even flew our company’s airplane out of town as Fargo’s airport (or at least where we hangar the aircraft) is vulnerable to anything higher from the river.

Yesterday my wife and I helped out sandbagging for several hours at the Fargo Water Treatment Plant along with about 200 others in the freezing temperatures. A lot of hard work was done and I heard very little if any complaining. There were even quite a few folks from Red Wing, Minn., who had bused up for the day–I believe they were high schoolers. Very cool. I also met a guy from Spokane, Wash. I cannot believe the amount of support being given by surrounding communities and states. Amazing.

Today we helped my brother-in-law move stuff off his floor and other stuff into attic space as he is on the city’s south side right next to the river.

Picture-taking is very limited–there have been a few arrests of folks trying for photos–but I have a few to share. I took them while heading to or from flood-related work:

Here are two from yesterday:

West Fargo’s flood diversion canal is full to the brim but it has kept our city safe–

A rural road north of West Fargo showing overland flowage from the Maple River, one of the contributing sources of Sheyenne River water which eventually gets to the Red downstream of Fargo–

Today’s shots:

Here is US highway 81, better known as University Drive. Along its length an earthen levee has been constructed in south Fargo. We had to walk over this to get to my brother-in-law’s place. Work continues–

My brother-in-law’s backyard with fresh levee. Trees were cut this week to make way for it. That’s the Red River on the far side–

Same levee but from his kitchen window–

Some of the flood prep in his home–

Neighbors consulting engineers and law enforcement–

Walking out when finished–

Just to give those familiar an idea, this is just across University Drive from the Rose Creek golf course–

A view looking east toward Moorhead, Minn. The First Avenue bridge (over the Red River) is visible with levees in both states. This was taken from the roof of my workplace in downtown Fargo–

A shot from the airplane today of Mapleton, just west of West Fargo. The Maple River is flooded but the town is fairly well protected with permanent dikes after years of dealing with this fickle prairie river. Much water is still locked up in ice as temperatures are not expected to be above freezing for the next several days making conditions all that much more difficult–

The acting director of FEMA showed up today in this government Gulfstream along with North Dakota Senator Conrad–

Getting to my father-in-law’s place in north Fargo today on the only road still accessible, Cass Co. Rd. 22 east of Harwood. We dropped off a bundle of 1,000 sandbags we had gotten from the Cass County Highway Dept. The Red River flows right to left through the trees in the background. At least it does normally–

Last shot. It’s of a home in the neighborhood which appears to be staying ahead of the rising Red River–

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