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Kevin Bonham, Forum Communications Co., Published March 16 2010

Northern counties watch Red, overland flooding

As the Wild Rice River crest moves through Twin Valley and Ada, Minn., flood fighters are watching for overland flooding and turning some of their attention to points where the tributaries meet the rising Red River.

“Right now, we’re in between the two floods,” Kevin Ruud, Norman County Emergency Management Director, said Monday.

Overland flooding is a problem south and west of Ada, however.

The Wild Rice River rose past 25 feet Monday at Hendrum, Minn., and is expected to crest by the weekend at about major flood stage of 32 feet. Flood stage is 20 feet.

Flood fighters likely will fortify dikes at Hendrum today and perhaps Wednesday.

The Red also was at flood stage at Halstad, Minn., on Monday. It is expected to rise to major flood stage, perhaps cresting at about 39 feet on Saturday or Sunday. The record crest at Halstad is 40.74 feet, set in 1997. The second-highest crest was set last year, at 40.63 feet, while the third-highest crest was 39.91 feet, set in 2006.

Ruud said the city of Halstad is in pretty good shape, despite the near-record flood prediction. The city has a certified dike to 44 feet.

Firefighters and other volunteers also have begun sandbagging some rural farmsteads in the Hendrum and Halstad areas.

Meanwhile, officials in Traill County, across the border in North Dakota, are monitoring areas along the Goose River west of Interstate 29, where several township roads have been closed.

As officials are doing in other areas, they’re working to open culverts, to keep water from overflowing onto roads. Township roads between Hatton and Mayville, N.D., are at most risk.

Grand Forks outlook

The Red River is expected to crest in Grand Forks-East Grand Forks between 47 and 49 feet next week, perhaps as early as next Monday or Tuesday.

The river passed the 28-foot flood stage early Monday. The 27-foot level is called the action stage, one in which city officials and workers begin to prepare for flooding. As of early Monday evening, the Red was at just over 30 feet in GF-EGF.

The Red crested at 49.34 feet at Grand Forks-East Grand Forks in 2009, the third-highest crest on record. However, damage was minimal in the cities, because of a $400 million flood protection system that was built after the record flood of 1997, when the river crested at 54.35 feet.

  • The Red Lake River in Crookston spiked early Monday to 23.97 feet, before dropping about a foot by noon. The weather service expects the river to remain at about 23 feet until Tuesday, before gradually receding.

    Bonham writes for the Grand Forks Herald, which is owned by Forum Communications Co.