Water Continues to Rise in North Dakota

March 27, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
Hundreds of National Guard troops are patrolling the banks of Fargo's Red River hoping to protect the North Dakota city against once-in-a-century flooding.Hundreds of National Guard troops are patrolling the banks of Fargo's Red River hoping to protect the North Dakota city against once-in-a-century flooding.

At 40.37 feet: it is a new record that the Fargo-Moorhead area could do without. It is predicted the red river will make more history on Saturday, and so, the around-the-clock sandbagging continues.

The Coast Guard has saved nearly 70 people so far. The focus on Friday: shoring up the main dike and building contingency dikes.

Still, there are homes in between that would have to be sacrificed. "We are in uncharted territory. No one has ever seen the river at this level in the City of Fargo since the beginning of history," said Dennis Walaker the Mayor of Fargo, North Dakota

Thursday night, leaks in the barriers prompted an emergency evacuation of 150 homes in one south Fargo neighborhood. At Meritcare Hospital in Fargo, 180 patients were evacuated overnight. "We are not closing. We will continue to be here for the community. Our emergency room is going to stay open until people's feet are wet," said Bruce Pitts with Meritcare Hospital.

Water levels may reach as high as 43 feet on Saturday three feet higher than the previous record set about 100 years ago. Even more daunting: the river many not recede for up to week.

The good news? The forecast is clear. No precipitation through the weekend, though snow is predicted for Monday.

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