Red River could crest at 43 feet in Fargo, ND

March 27, 2009

(ChattahBox) — As the National Weather Service says heavy rain is expected over the next several days, Fargo officials have put out a call for volunteers to help with dike building to hold back the rising Red River.

Doubts are growing over whether the swollen Red River can be held off, but even as some residents flee their homes. The river had risen to 40.18 feet early Friday, breaking a 112-year-old record on its way to a projected crest of up to 43 feet by Saturday. The river could stay at that level for five days. The previous high water mark was 40.10 feet, set April 7, 1897. The city of Moorhead said Thursday afternoon that mandatory evacuations for south Moorhead had been initiated due to the report issued by the National Weather Service.

Residents in this city of 92,000 have been scrambling in subfreezing temperatures to pile sandbags along the river and spent much of Thursday preparing for a crest of 41 feet, only to have forecasters add up to 2 feet to their estimate. The added foot or two raises concern among city officials, who asked residents last night to help in raising dikes — built with clay and sandbags.

In a special Fargo City Commissioners meeting held Thursday night, commissioners announced Fargo would begin voluntary evacuation Friday for any resident living in dike retaining areas. Efforts were already underway to evacuate a neighborhood and a nursing home in south Fargo due to potential breaches in the dike, commissioners said.


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