Saving Riverview Circle: The flood arrives

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The Red River can be very sneaky. This is what’s happening now at 3521, the home of Todd and Donna Morse. Through the morning, they’ve been adding width to the sandbag dike in their backyard, the river is now touching the sandbag dike, but it’s strong and well built.

We took a break for lunch, and then found that a drain along the edge of their swimming pool was the Red’s way in. Now they’re trying to get the drain covers off to plug the unexpected breach.

A Shop Vac is borrowed from John Brummer next door. Sump pumps are being deployed.

Without admitting defeat at the dike, their son “Hoss” orders sandbagging to begin around the door to the house.

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“There’ll be no happy pictures of us today,” Donna says to me.

All of the attention is no longer on reinforcing the massive dike at 43 feet; it’s on a 4 foot drain embedded in concrete.

Meanwhile, the river isn’t waiting. Here’s the view today.

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Note that stick. It marks the expected crest at 41 feet:

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I took that picture at 11 this morning. I took this one just 45 minutes later.

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As the Morses and John Brummer work outside, they probably don’t know that the city wants them to start thinking about getting out. They issued this alert:

There has been no breach to the dike system; however due to the significance of the flood threat, the City recommends you prepare to evacuate your home as this area is vulnerable to flooding. Take the following actions to prepare your home and evacuate to a location outside of the flood area:

Please seek shelter with family or friends outside of the flood zone to conserve semergency resources. A Red Cross public shelter will be available at 3:00 PM today at Moorhead High School, 2300 4th Avenue South.

Bring your identification and a 7 – 10 day supply of medications

Pets will NOT be accepted at the Red Cross shelter. Animal shelter may be available at the Doggy Depot (3224 8th Street South, 218-236-DOGS) and the Mutt Hut (1214 Main Avenue, 218-236-9935). Call ahead; please bring your animal’s food and health records.

Pet shelter space is extremely limited, so please try to make accommodations with family or friends outside of the flood zone.

Before you evacuate, call 218-477-4747 to register your home’s address and temporary location so emergency personnel and your family and friends can know you are safe and how to reach you.

If you need assistance with relocation, please call the relocation hotline 218-477-4747.

Prepare your property for dike failure/sewer failure as follows:

Plug all sewer drains including floor drains and sinks in lower levels

Shut water off (if you need assistance with water shut off, call 218-477-4747)

Leave electricity and natural gas services on

Up the block, none of the thousands of volunteers who have been bused in are ready to give the Red River the satisfaction:

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Volunteers pick up sandbags in their trucks and haul them back to their backyards where volunteers seem to appear out of nowhere to form a chain to deliver them to the three-mile-long wall.

“Swing, don’t drop,” Hoss instructs the group of mostly rookie sandbaggers. During breaks, he asks his grandfather for another “chew” to provide his energy.

Then the saddest two words this week are shouted. “Last one.”

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The volunteers pause for a moment, then realize John may need help next door.

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When there’s no sandbags to throw, Donna’s mother, Eileen, serves up soup in the garage with the enthusiasm that a good bowl of corned beef soup can stop a flood. She tells me the story of helping out in St. Peter after the tornado left the town devastated in the ’90s.

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The Red River isn’t kidding around. But neither is Riverview Circle.

  • Carol

    I can’t think what I should say – I’m praying for you and everyone who is affected. And all the wonderful people who have aided in any way to help. Great reporting – it brings me closer to my friends. Thank you and may God bless you and keep you in His care.

  • Adam & Amanda Przymus

    Donna, Todd, and family – You guys and all your neighbors are in our prayers tonight! We wish we could be there helping! We love you!

    Amanda & Adam

  • Jennifer

    Bob, you are doing such a wonderful job up there. (I’m thinking you should be on in the morning on Radio Heartland with Dale.) Hope you don’t have to leave suddenly. Be safe.

  • Lily

    As a Concordia grad, I am praying for my brothers and sisters in Fargo-Moorhead.

    We will be here to help no matter what!

    From Lily in St. Paul