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Sherri Richards, Published April 11 2010

‘Storm Stories’ features 2009 flood

The 2009 flood of the Red River was retold in a half-hour Saturday night, over a soundtrack of fast-paced, dramatic music.

The episode of “Storm Stories” titled “Red River Rescue” debuted on The Weather Channel at 7 p.m. Saturday. It will air again twice tonight and next weekend.

The half-hour show opened with a shot of the Fargo Theatre marquis and images of downtown. The storyline stayed focused firmly on Fargo, including Oak Grove Lutheran School and two homes south of city limits, during the week leading up to the historic 40.8-foot crest.

Michael and Lori Ibach talked about their battle to stay in their home in the Chrisan area, on the bank of the Red River, even as neighbors evacuated and clay dikes boxed them in. While they did get some water in their basement, their home was saved.

The show also detailed the story of then-17-year-old Peter Frei and his family’s airlift rescue from their Briarwood home. Near the end of the program, in home video footage, Frei holds up a copy of the book “When Bad Things Happen to Good People” and tosses it on the flood-ravaged floor.

The script, narrated by meteorologist Jim Cantore, referenced the 1997 flood. Oak Grove Principal Morgan Forness – shown often and referred to as Morgan Farnus throughout the show – said, “You laugh, how many 100-year floods can you have in 100 years?”

Also featured were interview segments with Weather Channel meteorologist Mike Seidel, Forum Editor Matthew Von Pinnon, footage from NBC News, and President Barack Obama talking about the flood during a weekly address.

Several scenes depicted efforts of National Guard soldiers and volunteer sandbaggers. The show ends with this observation: “The threat of disaster also has a silver lining. It forever unites a community.”

“I think we’ll always remember, just, this week and how out of tragic times amazing things can happen,” Frei said.

On TV


Readers can reach Forum reporter Sherri Richards at (701) 241-5556