Record Setting Flood Waters Barring Down on Minot, ND
Dave Ettl here…after discharge from the Army back in 1977 I moved to Minot, ND and earned a double major at Minot State University in Broadcasting and Psychology. Great little town and I got my start in commercial radio and Tv there as well. Lot’s of us transplanted North Dakotans live in Yakima and most of us keep track of events back in the midwest. My heart goes out to the wonderful, kind and strong people of the Northern Plains about to face a major flood.
Disastrous. Unstoppable. Historic. Unprecedented.
All words used to describe what city, county and state officials warn is an imminent assault on all residents of the Souris River Valley.
The highest flows ever recorded on the Souris are approaching a city whose defenses are destined to be over run. Can the city hold?
Dikes currently in place, recently improved greatly to combat high flows, are now expected to disappear under the traveling torrent. The amount of water flowing with a vengeance down the Souris River Valley is forecast to inundate Minot to a level seven to eight feet higher than the catastrophic and benchmark flood of 1969.
Saddened with that horrific knowledge, officials announced during a late afternoon press conference Monday that very little can be done to stop the powerful onslaught. Massive secondary dikes that were built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to save much of the town from the previous high on the Souris this year fall far short of defending against the impending and rapid rise of the Souris.
Mandatory evacuations were ordered Monday for all evacuation zones within Minot. Mayor Curt Zimbelman said all affected residents and businesses must vacate those areas no later than 10 p.m. Wednesday. Within minutes of the announcement residents once again began the laborious and hastened work of moving out of their homes for the second time this year.
Governor Jack Dalrymple, urged evacuations at all points along the river in Ward County. Dalrymple urged citizens to “move in an orderly and not panicky way.” Rick Hauck, Corps of Engineers, said the “saving lives” is now what is important.
“It’s pretty easy to get to 23,000 cfs, which is bearing down on Sherwood as we speak,” said Alan Schlag, hydrologist for the National Weather Service in Bismarck….for comparison purposes, the previous peak flow at Sherwood this year, one which caused great concern at all points downstream, was a mere 8,860 cfs.
“Let’s not forget about the rural areas either. This will be much, much higher than we’ve ever seen before in history,” said Dalrymple.
The flows currently rolling rapidly toward Minot, and even more water projected to follow, is of such volume that it is beyond the comprehension of NWS computer modeling.
Mayor Zimbelman said that there was a possibility of adding more evacuation areas in the coming days and that all citizens should be planning for that eventuality. In the meantime, say city and county leaders, the matter is not if the city will flood, but how soon, how severe and how long lasting the flooding will be. Kim Fundingsland Minot Daily News Staff Writer