Dave Roepke, Published April 09 2010
Weather Channel's ‘Storm Stories’ features 2009 flood
Tornadoes, in particular, are the bread and butter for the half-hour original show on The Weather Channel.
The show will shake it up Saturday, when an episode about last year’s Red River flooding will premiere.
A sneak peak of the show on the cable channel’s Web site, weather.com, shows a Coast Guard helicopter rescuing 17-year-old Peter Frei from the rooftop of his parents’ Briarwood home.
“I looked down and there was water rushing in. It started vibrating the whole house,” Frei said in the clip as he talks about the dike around the house breaking.
The show mixes personal home videos shot by locals and rescuers alike, footage filmed by a “Storm Stories” crew that was on location during the flood and some after-the-fact re-creations, said producer Payal Bawa.
Though floods don’t often make for the sort of drama the freaky-weather show relies upon, Bawa said the record-shattering forecasts in 2009 drew her attention.
“Those are the kind of extreme cases we’re really looking for,” she said.
Bawa said she was struck by the widespread effort it took to hold back the highest levels ever recorded on the Red in Fargo-Moorhead, from homeowners battling for their houses to the sandbag-filling throngs at the Fargodome.
“It was quite amazing to see that banding together,” she said.
Frei, now 18, said he will watch the show with interest because his interview was two days after he was airlifted to safety, a time that’s a bit of a blur.
“I have no idea what I said,” Frei said.
One of the show’s three acts will delve into historic flooding problems at Oak Grove Lutheran School, Bawa said. The school took major damages from dike breaches in 2009 and 1997.
Morgan Forness, principal of Oak Grove’s high school, may even screen the episode for students later in the spring to commemorate the recent flood fights, but he said seeing it could bring back some sorrow.
“I won’t pretend all those memories are fun or positive,” Forness said.
- What: “Red River Rescue,” an episode of “Storm Stories”
- When: 7 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, midnight on Saturday and Sunday, and 2 p.m. on April 17 and 18
- Where: The Weather Channel
- Info: A 30-minute weather show documenting the 2009 Red River flood
Readers can reach Forum reporter Dave Roepke at (701) 241-5535