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Kevin Bonham, Forum News Service, Published April 29 2013

Park River’s South Branch floods rural area west of Grafton

MANDT, N.D. — Charlotte Tverberg delivered a trunkload of pizzas for volunteer sandbaggers as they waited for the delivery of another truckload of sand to protect her home from the flooding South Branch of the Park River.

Water continued to seep into the basement in spite of three outdoor sump pumps, family members and a half-dozen other friends.

“Yesterday, the water was well within the river, but not today,” she said, as the sand truck started backing into the yard.

The Tverberg property, where she’s lived since 1951, sits near the banks of the South Branch near the spot where it passes under a bridge on N.D. Highway 18, just north of its intersection with N.D. Highway 17.

“We’ve had flooding before. … When they put in that new bridge they made it worse,” she said. “This is the worst it’s been since ’97.”

Park River’s South Branch, which runs from Homme Dam past the city of Park River, N.D., meets the Middle and North branches a couple of miles before the river runs through Grafton, N.D.

The river, which rose nearly a foot overnight Sunday, closed several rural roads and isolated homes in this portion of western Walsh County, according to County Emergency Manager Brent Nelson.

While the Park River, which was at 13.12 feet in Grafton at 3 p.m. Monday, is expected to crest Tuesday or Wednesday at 14.5 feet, which is major flood stage.

The record elevation at Grafton is 16.5 feet.

Tverberg and her son, Jeff, who recently moved into a home just to the east, talked about other floods over the years: 1978, when water filled the basement of his mother’s house; 1993; 1996; 1997; and 2002.

They’ve tried unsuccessfully in the past to get money for a ring dike or other flood protection, Jeff Tverberg said.

“Looks like we’re going to have to put in a dike ourselves,” he said.