If you’re not from this area, the thought of spring is a sigh of relief after a particularly harsh winter. If you are from this area, and you’ve experienced flooding, spring time after a harsh winter might make you nervous.
This winter, northwest Minnesota (and beyond) has experienced significant snowfall, roof collapses due to the amount of snow, and a roller coaster of temperatures. Now, we’re braced with a decent chance that the Red Lake River in Crookston could exceed 27.5 feet in mid-April and about the same chance it could exceed its record crest of 28.4 feet like the spring of 1997 encountered.
There’s no need for panic quite yet as our certified levee system protects Crookston to a crest of 30 to 31 feet and local officials are keeping up with the latest flood outlook information and necessary preparations. Ice jams might the “wildcard” for the winding route of the Red Lake River, but if the forecast keeps up with no significant precipitation we could be close to being in the clear.
Others in the Red River Valley are not so lucky at the moment.
A state of emergency was recently declared in the City of Fargo in anticipation of spring flooding and they’re planning for, at least, the 10-percent scenario where the river would reach 40.3 feet. If you remember, in 2009, the record reached just under 41 feet. There’s also a 5-percent chance 41 feet could be exceeded.
Fargo mayor Tim Mahoney says the city is in danger of suffering a “substantial flood event” and his declaration allows them to prepare financially, plus it allows the city to receive some compensation from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA.)
They plan to open Fargo Sandbag Central on March 26, which will remain open until their sandbag goal of one million sandbags has been met. They hope it will only take 10 days, but that’s with 200 volunteers an hour.
If you’re able, consider donating your time to help. We all need to come together to not only protect our homes, but our communities.