Melted snow floods Fargo


FARGO, N.D. – Volunteers filled and stacked sandbags Saturday to protect homes in North Dakota and Minnesota from the rising Red River and its tributaries, swollen by a combination of melting snow and heavy rain.

Mayor Bruce Furness said Fargo was preparing for a flood crest next week of 37 to 38 feet, well above the official flood stage of 18 feet. However, he has said that would threaten only about 30 homes – compared with about 130 flooded in 1997.

Along with the sandbagging, the mayor said Saturday there were signs the river’s rise is slowing.

“We’re feeling better today than we did yesterday,” Furness said.

On the Minnesota side of the Red River valley, the Buffalo River went over its banks and the Rev. Brad Lewis had to use a canoe to get around his five-acre farmstead, about 15 miles south of Fargo near Sabin, Minn.

Authorities in Minnesota’s Norman County closed highways on the west and south sides of the town of Ada because of flooding Saturday and residents of vulnerable homes were sandbagging, dispatcher Joel Andersen said.

The town of Hendrum, just over 20 miles north of Moorhead on the North Dakota line, was bracing for a record flood stage, expected to hit Tuesday.

“We’ve been having a couple of cooler nights, and that’s helped things out quite a bit,” Andersen said. “It could be a possibility that we get rid of this, but it could go the other way. Anything could happen.”