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Volunteers Work Together, Prepare Fargo Residents For Flooding

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(credit: CBS) Rachel Slavik
Rachel Slavik joined the WCCO team in October of 2010 and is thrill...
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By Rachel Slavik, WCCO-TV

FARGO, N.D. (WCCO) – The Red River in Fargo, N.D. hit major flood stage Wednesday and hundreds of volunteers spent the day sandbagging in several neighborhoods. The effort is expected to last through the weekend.

Along with the swollen river, culverts and drainage ditches are overflowing, and it’s putting the Oak Creek neighborhood at risk — even though it’s nowhere near the river.

Stan Schultz lives in the neighborhood and the rising water is threatening his home. Volunteers helped him sandbag his home Wednesday.

“Every year we do this,” said Schultz. “When it gets to 39 feet, it’ll be to the sandbags and look more like the Mississippi River than a drainage ditch.”

To keep the water out of homes, hundreds of volunteers started at 7 a.m., building temporary levees. It’s a job that Fargo residents have gotten really good at in the last three years.

The sense of urgency or desperation from 2009, or even last year, is gone.

“Volunteer turnout is good this year. The fact, we started early. Gave us extra time,” said Benjamin Willey, a Fargo firefighter.

By 5 p.m. Wednesday, the half mile levee was complete and volunteers left ready to help the next neighborhood.

“It’s an awesome thing to be a part of the community coming together,” said Dawn Robson, a volunteer.

Fargo residents said they are calmer this year because, right now, the river level isn’t expected to hit the record level of almost 41 feet. Also, 2.5 million sandbags were filled this year and Willey doesnt think they’ll use even half that amount.

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