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Wendy Reuer, Published April 02 2013

Cass County officials prepared for significant overland flooding

HARWOOD, N.D. – Cass County officials said at a meeting here Tuesday that no matter the size of this year’s expected flood, overland flooding is almost certain in rural areas.

“We can expect some significant overland flooding no matter what happens,” said Cass County Engineer Jason Benson.

At Tuesday’s meeting, officials said they are prepared to help, if the Red River, Sheyenne River or Maple River reach significant flood levels.

Sheriff Paul Laney said he will not be asking for federal help, such as extra patrols from the U.S. Coast Guard or Border Patrol. Laney said his office is prepared for worst-case-scenario flooding, and response plans have been drawn up in case of emergency.

“We feel very comfortable. If any major incident happens, we will be there and we’ve got your back,” Laney said Tuesday. “We can adapt to pretty much whatever comes our way.”

One area of concern is the Lake Shure development near West Fargo. About 130 homes have been routinely isolated by outbreaks of the Sheyenne River, which cut off access to the roads. In 2011, the water-covered roads cut off residents for 45 days.

While the county was granted a Federal Emergency Management Agency grant to build a bridge in the area in 2014, the roads will likely flood this spring. Reed Township Chairman Mark McAllister said residents are prepared for that possibility.

“We’ll handle it,” he said.

Cass County has joined efforts with the city of Fargo to fill 1 million sandbags. Volunteers will begin filling the bags at 8 a.m. today.

Volunteers are especially needed after 5 p.m., Benson said. To volunteer, residents can call (701) 476-4000.

Filled sandbags will be delivered to the southern parts of the county first, but residents can call the flood hotline at (701) 297-6000 to request delivery.

For $100, Cass County residents can buy 1,000 unfilled sandbags and sand will be delivered, Benson said.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Wendy Reuer at (701) 241-5530