Icy Floods Plague the Midwest

March 26, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
Demolition crews in the upper Midwest are blasting chunks of ice on rivers to clear ice jams threatening to flood neighborhoods. At the same time, thousands of people are manning sandbag lines to protect Fargo, North Dakota, from record-breaking high waters.As flood waters rise in North Dakota, the Coast Guard was dispatched to rescue more than a dozen people including a 14-month old child trapped in their homes.

City residents have been struggling to save hundreds of homes along the banks of the Red River by sandbagging a 12-mile stretch.

The raging river is predicted to crest this weekend at a record 41 feet. "We're talking about levels never reached before by any stretch of the imagination," said the Mayor of Fargo Dennis Walaker.

To the west in Bismarck officials battled a different problem. Dangerous ice jams, some as big as cars, blocking the Missouri River.

Commercial demolition experts ignited dynamite as more than 1,700 people evacuated the area. "We'll do our best to make it water tight and head out," said Linda Wolf of Bismarck.

The blasts seem to be working. The river is beginning to flow again.

But Fargo is faring much worse. Despite the efforts of thousands of volunteers to contain the Red River, the river continues to rise.

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