WASHINGTON, D.C.Washington March 31, 1999 - FEMA's regional office in Denver (Region VIII) and North Dakota state officials continue to monitor and prepare for flooding along the Red River of the North. Once the river crests at Grand Forks, river levels will remain high for several days and then should slowly recede. A storm system is on its way and could bring unwanted additional precipitation to the area, forcing river crests higher or second crests. The Red River is expected to crest at the following points and dates: East Grand Forks, Minn., April 2-3, at 44-46 feet. Flood Stage (FS) is 28 feet.
Oslo, Minn., April 3-4, at 37 feet. FS 28 feet.
Drayton, ND, April 5-6, at 40 feet. FS 32 feet
Pembina, ND, April 7-9, at 47-49 feet. FS 42 feet.
In response to the increased crest forecast, Grand Forks officials have issued Flood Warning Levels 3 and 4, which activates 24-hour operations and increases surveillance and public broadcasts. City workers are practicing installing metal shield doors at the water treatment plant in case the river crest reaches 50 feet. The Flood Fight Status Report indicates that all dikes and closures in the area are constructed to 50 feet. Also, up to 10,000 sandbags have been filled and stockpiled in the area. The Mayor and other officials conducted a fly-over of Grand Forks to assess the amount of water already affecting the area.
In Minnewaukan (Williams County), increasing water tables have damaged the sewer system, causing damage to pump stations and sewer mains. Soil saturation has also damaged area streets. Many homeowners along Devils Lake are pumping water from their property. Spring runoff has affected numerous roads and bridges in Traill, Barnes, Walsh and Steele counties.
Emergency services are being impeded in some counties due to the high water on roads. Sandbagging efforts are underway in the counties. Walsh County has up to 76,000 sandbags located at five county public works and workers have already delivered 1,000 sandbags to one area resident threatened by floodwaters.
The National Weather Service forecast indicates a major storm is moving out of the Rocky Mountains toward the Plains States, bringing a wintry mix to North Dakota. Precipitation totals are expected to be less than two inches. However, depending on the track of the storm, the state could see significant snow with higher amounts in the southern half.
Grand Forks and Pembina counties have declared local states of emergency, but there has been no State declaration at this time. State and other Federal agencies continue to provide technical and material assistance. FEMA's regional office in Denver (Region VIII) is in constant contact with North Dakota state officials and closely monitoring the situation.