Live- blogging: Fargo’s flood meeting

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I’m at the daily flood information meeting at the Fargo City Hall. About 30 people — all men — are sitting around a table.

Fargo Mayor Dennis Walker announces the Red River has crested at Wahpeton at a level below that which was predicted. “We need another good day and we assume the same is going to happen today,” he said.

Gov. John Hovan said he couldn’t get home last night because of a blizzard in Bismarck. About 800 North Dakota National Guard members will be in the area by later today.

Hoping to get a federal disaster declaration today. They’re hoping to get 90 percent reimbursement. “In 1997, we got 100 percent,” the mayor said.

A few officials were upset by an article in the Fargo Forum newspaper today in which a Salvation Army official said he was seeing more “fear.”

” Fear. We don’t see any fear, we just see people working very hard,” the mayor said. “There may be people concerned and they’re always concerned.”

At the meeting a Salvation Army official apologized for the comment.

The mayor said people are showing up from Minnesota to volunteer. “People in Minnesota are bypassing Moorhead, which I think is kind of interesting,” the Fargo mayor said. And he’s right. If you didn’t know any better, you wouldn’t think there’s a flood problem in Moorhead.

Levee work:

South Fargo — Most of the area will be “buttoned up” today, the Army Corps of Engineers said.

Will close University Drive if the water gets over 40 feet.

“We’re diking where we’ve never diked before,” one official said.

Preparing to close sewers. Sewage systems are “keeping up.”

Sandbagging:

The goal was 200,000 per day, then 250,000 per day, now trying to get 300,000 a day. They put out a call for volunteers on Monday. A second central sandbagging location was set up on Monday. 280,000 bags were filled on Monday, overnight, another 170,000 bags were filled. “We think we hit the 450,000 bag mark yesterday,” an official said to applause.

“The bad news is we still need more. We need to continue making sandbags through Saturday in case we need to fortify levees,” he said.

Classes have been canceled at North Dakota State University until further notice. About 3,200 students have been filling sandbags.

  • WWIRugger

    Thanks for the coverage Bob. I lived in the F/M area in 1997 and have been following all the coverage.

    It is great to see the community pulling together, especially the young people. For me, it illustrates how important everyone is to the success of a community.

    Take care and DO NOT DRIVE THROUGH ANY ROADS THAT HAVE WATER OVER THEM!!!!!

    Let us know when officials are calling for volunteers for clean up.

  • Doug

    I could care less if there are 30 or 300 men around the table right now. Stick to relevant topics, please.

    I think the overrreaction to the Salvation Army is sad. People fear floods! It’s natural! It’s almost like having an expiration date on your birth certificate. You can see the end coming, but can’t do much about it after a certain point.

  • Malin

    Thanks for update Bob. I am in the Eastern Twin Cities metro and I am wondering what fellow citizens can do, if anything, to help from afar?

  • Bob Collins

    Hi, Malin. Unless you want to drive to Moorhead, not much other than paying your taxes. (g).

    That’s where this might get interesting. Now, at the Fargo meeting they said they’re requesting 90 percent reimbursement. I haven’t heard what the deal is on this side of the river but clearly it’s going to cost the state some money at a time when it really can’t afford much.

  • Joanna

    Great reporting all around, Bob. Having family and friends in the area, I really appreciate the eyewitness accounts, the pictures and all the information.

  • Hank Tkachuk

    As a decades long supporter of Minnesota Public Radio, I’d like to see a little more coverage on the Minnesota side. You mention NDSU canceled classes but don’t mention that Concordia and MSUM actually canceled classes BEFORE NDSU did and those student have been fantastic in their support, They literally built a mile of dike in South Moorhead connecting private home dikes to protect much more of the city. Perhaps the reason you wouldn’t notice that a flood was going on in Moorhead is that the response has been so strong. Let’s not forget that the river runs along BOTH banks and those of us who live on the Minnesota side expect a little notice from the public radio folks that we support.

  • Bob Collins

    Hank, I’m not sure what you’re getting at here. You’ll note that *I* am stationed on the Moorhead side and most of my posts are coming from the very neighborhood you’re talking about.

  • Betsy Orman

    Hi Fargo Friends,

    Last night couldnt sleep praying for you guys all night and the Mayor and Governor. Posted a prayer request with the presidental prayer team site, Joel Osteens site and yesterday called the U of M Presidents office and the Minnesota State University systems and asked them to bus thier students to help with the night shift at the Fargo Dome and sandbagging as a service project for thier students. Hope you got the calvery! Sorry I am not there to help but I am doing all I can from my home in in Connecticut.

    If we give our 100% God will do the rest!

    My heart is with you.

    Betsy Orman

    State Director (Ret)

    American Family Coaliton North Dakota