Mike Nowatzki, Published June 18 2009
Second wave of water brings flooding misery to southern valley
“This is the second time it’s happened this year, so we’re getting pretty used to it,” he said, putting a bobber on the line of a SpongeBob SquarePants rod.
Heavy rains hammered Abercrombie and other areas south of Fargo on Tuesday and Wednesday morning, bringing a second round of water woes for some who just put a record spring flood behind them.
More than 8 inches fell in Abercrombie, flooding 15 to 20 basements and crawl spaces, Mayor Kevin Bernier said.
Runoff gushed into town from a half-section of farmland south of the city and overwhelmed the sanitary sewer system. The city borrowed pumps from the Army Corps of Engineers to get rid of the water.
“We had maybe two basements wet in the spring flood, but this was more,” Bernier said. “We had a lot more water in the city of Abercrombie than we did in March. It was several inches higher.”
Johnson said he fortunately hadn’t put valuables back in the basement after moving them upstairs this spring. Water stood about 4 feet deep in his backyard, swallowing the legs of a trampoline.
“I told my neighbor we should go in partners on growing rice,” he said.
One block to the south, water seeped through the floorboards and soaked the carpet of an older two-story home. Douglas Brown said he had planned to buy the house from his mother but was reconsidering.
“This is the second time it’s happened in four months, and I don’t know how much more it’s going to take,” he said, adding, “This is getting old.”
An earthen dike built by the corps this spring about a half-mile south of town was helping to hold back some overland flooding, but City Auditor Kevin Paczkowski said the city will probably need to build a smaller dike closer to the homes to protect them.
“After the flood, we thought we were all right, but it doesn’t seem to be,” he said.
Across the Red River in Kent, Minn., water flooded a stretch of U.S. Highway 75 that was still closed from spring flood damage.
Wilkin County Highway Engineer Tom Richels said water was over a number of county and township roads, some of which were just recently repaired.
“There’s water over roads that it’s never ever been over before,” he said.
Dry conditions before the rain had farmers looking for a little bit of rain, Richels said, but now some planted fields were flooded.
Plum-full ditches spilled over two gravel roads on the south side of Wolverton, Minn., trapping some residents who already had one access route cut off by a sinkhole this spring.
Sandy Maesse walked in waders to pick up her mail at the post office. Water gushed through a drainage ditch, washing over debris from her son’s trailer home that was just demolished last weekend because of spring flood damage.
“I thought these would be retired for this year,” she said of the waders.
The unsettled weather continued into late Wednesday afternoon, as funnel clouds were spotted over Fairmount, N.D. However, there were no reported touchdowns, said Richland County Emergency Manager Brett Lambrecht.
Readers can reach Forum reporter Mike Nowatzki at (701) 241-5528