Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Flooding in the Upper Plains expected all over again

Bond Brungard on Disaster News Network: Spring is finally reaching North Dakota and Minnesota, and with the advent of the warmer weather comes more flood worries that have plagued these states for the last month. Tributaries that feed the Red and Missouri Rivers are flowing full of water from a recent snow melt-off, and disaster preparedness officials are getting ready for the recovery that is likely to be needed.

After cresting at nearly 41 feet in Fargo North Dakota and Moorhead, its neighboring city in Minnesota a few weeks ago, the Red River is expected to crest again at 38-39 feet within the coming days. “We are waiting for the second onslaught,” said Steve Carbno, the disaster preparedness coordinator for the Salvation Army in Fargo and Morehead.

Carbno has had mobile feeding units helping sandbaggers for the past month, and he said everyone is working overtime to save these cities as a storm system bears down and is scheduled to arrive with the cresting of the Red River later this week. Carbno said 15-20 percent of the housing in both cities is endangered if the temporary dikes and sand-bagged hills can not hold the water back.

“It’s tough to see a sandbag dike in your backyard and a clay dike in your front yard,” he said. Carbno said these preventive measures may save property and possessions, but the constant threat of looming disaster takes an emotional and spiritual toll on residents….

A March 2009 line of sandbagging volunteers in Fargo, North Dakota, shot by Adam Quartarolo, Wikimedia Commons,  under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License

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