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Jacob Voelker, Fargo, Published May 11 2013

Letter: Diversionist conspiracies are hogwash

Spring is in the air, and people of the area are busy getting ready for the lake, cleaning up the yard, taking kids on walks and genuinely being happy. Oh wait. They’re too busy pointing fingers like a couple of toddlers sitting next to a broken vase.

As we all know, the spring flood came and went with a surprisingly (except to the bar stool meteorologists) lower than projected crest. Hooray! No flood this year! The stress is gone!

Incredible script

No, no, no. That’s not the way it is. This year, we need someone’s head for the horrible crimes the National Weather Service and Fargo leaders have committed. You see, Fargo desperately wants permanent protection, and Mayor Dennis Walaker and his cronies, along with the Diversion Authority will stop at nothing to reach their goal. Even if it means penetrating the National Weather Service with the unlimited power they somehow obtained to pressure them into casting a record-breaking flood crest. This in turn would put enough pressure on the North Dakota Legislature and federal government to pay for the billion-plus-dollar project sooner rather than later.

Man, that’s an incredible script. We should send it in to the guys at HBO and maybe get a show or movie created. Or, and this is the idea I really like, we could let Jesse Ventura and Glenn Beck in on this conspiracy theory. Because that’s exactly what it is: a desperate, lazy and pathetic conspiracy created by the anti-diversion (diversionists) group to manipulate support. And I’ve had enough.

Outrageous, offensive

This is not at all a pro-diversion rant. I understand both sides. I feel for both sides. What I do have a problem with, though, is the apparent entitlement the diversionists think they have to throw out character accusations like it’s candy at a parade. Is this really how we treat people in this area? Call me bleeding-heart, but isn’t defaming others for political advancement not “North Dakota Nice”?

Specifically, this attack on the weather service is outrageous, disheartening and completely offensive. The National Weather Service is based in Grand Forks and has absolutely no stake in a potential Fargo diversion. They answer to officials on the federal level, not the state, and especially not the local government. The office is open 24 hours a day, and the employees work aggravating shifts. They deal with high stress and very little outside encouragement (obviously). And they are all there for one reason: to protect us.

So, the weather service blew the crest. They were wrong. I know it’s easy for all the diversionists in glass houses to throw stones, but before putting too much effort into your ignorance, maybe you should take the time to even half-a**ed enlighten yourself on why we actually didn’t meet the crest.

It’s a science

Most of the critics go off of basic Farmer’s Almanac nonsense like “dry ground,” or “the farmers say …” But guess what? There’s a science to this type of thing. Yeah, that’s right, people go to school for many years to learn how to read charts, create models and solve equations that a majority of us wouldn’t even know where to start.

And what do these money-hungry, corrupt scientists say? They say we had a perfect melt, almost unheard of. Think about it (I know, pointing fingers is much easier), we had two months of a freeze/melt cycle compared to the usual two weeks. This cycle also included below-average precipitation. It was miserable for us trying to get into the spring mentality, but it was just what the river needed.

Even after this perfect cycle, which makes or breaks a flood, we still had the 12th-highest crest in Fargo history. These meteorologists or part-time politicians, whatever you want to go with, also say we should be thankful that what could’ve happened didn’t happen.

And I don’t know about you, but I’m going with the scientists instead of the “old-timers up and down the valley.”

Difficult task

Everyone reading this should know our climate is extremely volatile. We could have snow one day, followed with an 80-degree scorcher the next, being topped off with a severe thunderstorm. Others around the nation would be flabbergasted. Us, we just shrug our shoulders and move on with our day.

Well, be empathetic to how difficult it must be to forecast this crazy climate. Meteorologists in California get to go to work and forecast “75 degrees with a 30 percent chance of rain” every day. Ours have to deal with tornadoes, blizzards, severe thunderstorms, a wide variety of temperatures, hostile winds and flooding, and the list could go on. These guys are almost superhuman, and I guarantee you they have the utmost respect from everyone else in the industry.

Let’s get back to the job of these meteorologists. They are a government agency and have no financial desire. None of the employees live in Fargo, and absolutely zero of them are involved in the Diversion Authority. They are here for us. Like firefighters, police officers and the military, they are here for our protection – to protect life and property. Yet, the diversionists want to savage them.

How dare you?

Police officers can’t stop every criminal, firefighters can’t save every house, and the military can’t stop every enemy. But you all, on your high horses, feel you have the right to attack the character, morals and ethics of these civil servants. How dare you? What gives you, as someone being protected, that right?

Don’t believe me on these protective motives? Still think these scientists are nothing but a pawn in Fargo’s diversion game? Well, do you remember the ’97 flood? How about the ’09 flood? Both nailed by the weather service. But let’s forget about those – they hold no merit in the diversion discussion. Also, how about the 2010 tornado outbreak? It was the most prolific tornado outbreak in the Northern Great Plains on record. Ninety-three confirmed tornados, four F-4s, $117.7 million in damage, and guess what? Only three deaths. But again, we can’t focus on the positive things the agency has done because they’re Fargo’s personal money-hawks, doing all they can to prey on the poor little diversionists.


The Fargo diversion is obviously the biggest issue in the area and, rightly so, very divisive. Both sides have understandable motives and are doing exactly what they believe is right, which we all can respect. But to drag the members of the weather service through the mud to try to prove any point on the issue is nothing but self-serving lies, and I truly pity you.

These aren’t politicians voting for or against you, they aren’t professional athletes making seven figures a year, and they certainly aren’t bigwig bankers playing games with your money. They are tremendously hardworking, highly intelligent (I cannot stress that enough), prideful members of our society who deserve to be treated like heroes, not criminals. They do a thankless job and expect nothing in return.

So let me be the first: Thank you, National Weather Service. And while I’m at it, thank you, Mayor Walaker, and thank you, Fargo city officials. You’ve kept us safe in the past, and I know you’ll do everything you can in the future.