Reporting Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield
MOORHEAD, Minn. (WCCO/AP) — Final preparations are underway in Fargo. The town, as well its Minnesota counterpart, Moorhead, is prepping for the crest of the Red River.
South of Fargo, the Red River has already crested— 3-feet lower than the record flood. But the crest has not yet happened in the Fargo-Moorhead area. There they say they’re ready and waiting.
The National Weather Service says the Red River will likely top out in Fargo at the low end of the predicted crest range.
The forecast, updated Sunday, shows the river topping out at 37 feet in Fargo and Moorhead, Minn., early Wednesday morning. That’s 19 feet above the point when the river spills its banks.
The Corps of Engineers says they are calmly awaiting the water. The team spent the weekend building a temporary clay dike in front of city hall.
Mike Machajewski works for the Corps of Engineers out of St. Paul. He helped build the dike. He says the city is in good shape.
“This year’s very unique in the fact we’re done early. We had levees constructed early and we’re still waiting for the water to come up,” Machajewski said.
Residents spent the week building the best defense they’ve had in years. Bag after bag, volunteers in the area have built huge sandbag walls to keep the water out.
They say after years of watching the Red River rise and fall — they know exactly how many bags to use and the best way to lay them to block the water.
“There’s no one area of the country that doesn’t have some type of national disaster, tornadoes, hurricanes. We have our floods on the spring,” said Benjamin Willey, of the Fargo Fire Department.
The volunteers were all calm, saying they’re used to this and feel prepared. They say no more volunteers are needed.
Most of the sandbags are in place. Engineers will spend the early part of the week double checking dikes. The city says they don’t need any volunteers. It’s now just a waiting game.
A 37-foot crest would be the seventh highest flood on record in the area, but the water is unlikely to reach sandbags that have been placed around a couple of hundred homes.
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