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Matt Von Pinnon, Published March 20 2011

Von Pinnon: Thanks to 2009, intensity of today’s flood fights pale

One year ago tomorrow, the Red River at Fargo-Moorhead crested at 36.95 feet, about nine days after it began rising.

Two years ago today, the Red in Fargo eclipsed 18 feet – minor flood stage – on its way eight days later to a crest of 40.82 feet, the highest level since man began putting a numbered stick in the river at Fargo to record such things.

These tight time frames from the start of flooding to top-level crests stand out in our minds because they are relatively fresh. But the circumstances of the epic 2009 flood probably won’t be repeated anytime soon. Consider these tidbits from the book “Will Over Water: How the Red River region rallied to fight the flood of 2009”:

Not long ago, when the waters began to rise, people – like other animals – simply moved or got out of the way. This idea that mankind can control nature’s plan is relatively new. But we do it because it’s all we can do, really. It allows us to feel somewhat in control. We’ll know soon enough if Mother Nature credits us for the effort this time around.


Von Pinnon is editor of The Forum. Reach him at (701) 241-5579.