MINOT, N.D. (AP) — Sirens in the North Dakota city of Minot sounded five hours ahead of a looming deadline Wednesday morning as the bloated Souris River began to overtop levees.

The warning was followed by an announcement saying, “All residents must evacuate, Zones 1 through 9,” prompting the last of nearly 11,000 Minot residents to leave their homes for a second time in a month.

Robyn Whitlow, 27, was helping residents load the last of their belongings and burst into tears when the sirens sounded at 12:57 p.m.

“I feel so bad for everybody,” said Whitlow, a Minot resident who lives outside the evacuation zone.

Water from the Souris River, which loops down from Canada through north central North Dakota, has been bloated by heavy spring snowmelt and rain on both sides of the border.

The resulting deluge is expected to dwarf a historic flood of 1969, when the Souris reached 1,554.5 feet above sea level. The river is expected to hit nearly 1,563 feet this weekend — eventually topping the historical record of 1,558 feet set in 1881.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Comments (5)
  1. Patrick says:

    People need to abandon flood plains as areas for homes and businesses. Flood plains are a vital part of the ecology and of the natural function of watersheds. If you must do something with them, farm on them when they are dry. It’s a waste of money and energy to fight against nature. Work with it and both people and the natural world will be better off.

    1. Brilliant says:

      You are Ignorant and judgmental. This land has been inhabited for decades. Your solution is for everyone to get up and abandon it? Yeah, that’s feasible, abandon a whole city.

      1. Richard in Minneapolis says:

        Inhabited for decades, flooding for millenia. Right on, Patrick.

    2. IwonderIf says:

      I couldn’t agree with you more! Cheers!

    3. MIke says:

      I suppose you live in a basement that is well protected by natural forces like tornadoes or straight line winds. How else could you be so callous and judgmental?

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