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Serving: West

Flood Fight On the Red

Homeowners and farmers are taking hits as snowmelt moves to the river

The flood is getting worse in the Red River Valley.


My wife and I live on a farmstead northeast of Fargo-Moorhead.


In the summer, we are surrounded by wheat and corn fields.


Now, we live on the edge of a lake -- a big one. Section after section of land is filled with water. It goes on like this for 7-10 miles. Maybe it’s my imagination, but I think I can see the curve of the horizon over the water like you can on Milacs, Sakakawea or Lake of the Woods.


Fortunately, I live on the north side of a section and our property is protected by a major county highway, which is acting like a dam. The water started going over the highway to the west of us, which is downstream, but it is holding in front of our place. Our sump pumps are keeping up with water leaking into the basement.


Others haven’t been as lucky. Some homes have already been lost. Some farms have been cut off. Some families have already been evacuated. Despite sandbagging and dike building efforts, I fear many more may suffer the same fate as the crest moves north up the Red River.


Flooding is not limited to the Valley either.


Ice jams in Missouri River are flooding parts of Bismarck and Mandan. Valley City and Jamestown report problems. With several feet of snow in some places of western North Dakota and North Dakota, flooding will be a problem there, too.


The North Dakota Farm Service Agency estimates that a million acres of cropland won’t get planted in eastern North Dakota. There are no estimates yet of livestock losses, but I expect calf losses to be significant.


Spring is off to a rough start in some parts of the Dakotas.


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