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Katie Ryan-Anderson, Forum Communications Co., Published March 15 2011

North Dakota town of Adrian ready for flood

ADRIAN, N.D. – Despite wading through floodwaters two years ago, residents here said they aren’t worried about a flood in 2011.

Oh sure, high water may happen this spring, but after two years of practice, Adrian said it’s prepared.

The National Weather Service listed a 15 percent chance of major flooding at LaMoure with a crest of 18 feet or higher, in its flood forecast on Feb. 17. That probability is down about 22 percent from the Jan. 25 forecast. Current snowpack conditions are similar to previous high-runoff years of 1997 and 2010.

LaMoure County expects water over roads and some water trouble, but most of its residents know what to expect in case of high water, said Bob Flath, LaMoure County commissioner. Many of them built protection for their homes, just in case.

“A lot of them call it landscaping,” he said.

Adrian residents Terry and Marna Schulz spent $17,000 to build a clay dike around their home last year. The couple had water in their garage and about a foot in the house itself in 2009.

After the flood, the couple ripped out about 3 feet of drywall to repair damage from the water, Marna said.

The new dike is an extension of their old deck. It includes a grassy area and even a patio for a table and chairs. Marna said she hopes to sit at the patio and watch the flood this year instead of fighting it.

“I really don’t think we’re going to have any problems,” she said.

And while the James River took away from the Schulzes’ house, it gave, as well.

In the midst of repairs, the Schulzes purchased new appliances, installed a fireplace and Marna got the red washer and dryer she’d been wanting.

Evidence of the 2009 flood remains, however. Flood photos rotate on a digital picture frame in the Schulzes’ kitchen.

Flood remnants remain in the home of Pat and Loren Rode, too.

The couple had about 6 inches of water in their home two years ago.

Since then, they’ve built a 4-foot rock-wall dike around the back of the house. The dike blocks her river view, but the obstruction is worth it, Pat said.

“It’s not the beauty it used to be, but it’s beautiful to me,” she said.

The couple helped mitigate flood risk at the home of Doris Rode (Loren’s mother) and their son and daughter-in-law, Lucas and Shawna Rode, too.

Doris now lives in a new home built 3 feet higher than her former 100-year-old Adrian home. Lucas and Shawna and their 3-year-old son, Hudson, moved their home after 7 1/2 feet of water filled the basement and then encroached on the main floor in 2009.

Lucas and Shawna originally applied for funding from a federal acquisition program, but opted out because of the cost of the program and because they weren’t sure when or if they’d receive the funding.

After a half-dozen moves and more than a year living in a barn-turned-apartment, the Rodes expect to move into their old home in its new location on a hill. Loren’s construction crew as well as electricians from Dakota Valley Electric Cooperative worked on the home recently.

Water, Shawna said, is not even on her mind. The barn apartment flooded in 2009 and may again, but Shawna said she tries to think more about the move.

“I’m trying not to think about water,” she said.

At the Pat and Loren Rode house, Pat said she still has flood-related repairs like baseboard to finish. She recently hung artwork and decorations, items she moved to higher ground when the water rose two years ago.

Pat said she isn’t too concerned about high waters assuming the area receives a slow melt. Even if it floods again, the dike should keep the water away.

“We don’t really want to test it, but we’re pretty confident,” she said.

So is Linda Barnick of Montpelier. She’s lived in that area her whole life. Five sump pumps and a ring of sandbags kept most of the water out of her house in 2009. Some of the sandbags remain in case of high waters again, but based on the amount of snowfall so far this year, Barnick, like many of her neighbors, said she doesn’t expect too much trouble.

“I’ve lived there my whole life and I just know,” she said.


Katie Ryan-Anderson writes for the Jamestown Sun