Saving Riverview Circle: The fight ends

A little before 8 tonight, the word came. An evacuation of this neighborhood — including the motel where I’ve been staying — is now mandatory. The fight is over. We’re now flood refugees. Since I’d already written a lengthy piece, I’ll post it as written.

There is the message we got:

As of 3:00 PM today, the National Weather Service issued a revised forecast that the Red River will crest at 42 feet on Saturday, March 28th. Based upon this prediction, the City of Moorhead local Law Enforcement officials direct that ALL residents within the area South of I-94 and West of 8th Street evacuate the area immediately.

Please seek shelter with family or friends outside of the flood zone to conserve emergency resources. A Red Cross public shelter is available at Moorhead High School, 2300 4th Avenue South.

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

Bring baby supplies if you have an infant.

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.

Once you are at a safe location, 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.

If your family needs special assistance with relocation, you may also contact the Clay County Emergency Operations Center at 299-7768.


(Here’s my conversation with MPR’s Tom Crann on All Things Considered tonight. )

Nobody was giving up on Riverview Circle, but they’re not ignoring reality, either. There were a fair number of people biting their lips late on Thursday as word spread that the new crest projection suggests a 43 foot crest. That sent homeowners to the backyard to look — again — at the Red River from behind their sandbag fortresses — fortresses that they’ve worked again to raise to … 43 feet.

Todd and Donna Morse have a Plan B.


The smaller of their vehicles has been parked at their church on higher ground. The larger one is ready to be filled, if need be. The younger kids have been sent off with relatives. The family pictures are being sent out this evening. Their son, “Hoss”, who spent the day seemingly holding the Red River off singlehandedly, will be back tonight to keep an eye on the sandbags.

Here’s what he’ll see:


Compare it to Wednesday:


Meanwhile, next door at John Brummer’s house, a bucket brigade is still at work moving sandbags to a low spot where his sandbag dike meets the neighbor on the far side.

“Seepage” is occurring because the water has now reached the sandbags. They’re frozen and won’t fill in any gaps the water eats away.

This trickle doesn’t seem like much…


But it is. Down the street, Moorhead firefighters have found a poorly constructed sandbag wall, and are rushing sandbags in. If there’s a weakness in this neighborhood, that may be it. There’s also rumors that there are icebergs in the river and if one hits a sandbag, the show is over. These are things that are keeping Riverview Circle up at night.

Here’s the view at John Brummer’s back door:


And yesterday…

And Tuesday…

By the way, I’ve been passing along your best wishes and they obviously are too busy to jump online and read them now, but they will.

Update 9:23 p.m. The motel bar is full (the motel is just around the corner from the neighborhood and is in the evacuation zone). I’m guessing if people leave, it won’t be until tomorrow.

Update 9:31 p.m. – We’ve been ordered out by 6 a.m..

  • Bonnie

    Please do pass on our best wishes. I really hope there is a “pleasant” surprise and the water miraculously does not exceed the barriers. Thanks Bob, take care.

  • Kevin

    Argghh. Bob! I’m sorry to hear the news. There aren’t many words to describe what those families and you are feeling right now. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

  • Bob Nobis

    I just talked to my brother who lives on the 2900 block of South Rivershore Drive in Moorhead. His house is just a few hundred feet north of I94, right on the river. (West side of Rivershore Drive)

    He indicated that they are having difficulty getting sand for sandbags in South Moorhead. He should be ok if the river only goes to 41 feet, but if it hits 42+ feet, as predicted, is he very concerned he will lose the house.

    I guess I don’t understand the shortage of sand in Moorhead, based on the pictures on the news showing all of the sandbags. I wonder what areas are able to get sand?

  • andyin fl

    Our prayers are with you…..

  • Bob Collins

    Bob, there’s just been too many areas that need sand and not enough sand. Out here on the ramps to 94, there are 40 dump trucks lined up at any one time, dumping sand on a dike they’re trying to get made. This dike in Rivershore/Riverview is 3 miles long.

    And the reality is that it takes less time to pass a sandbag down a bucket brigade than it does to make a sandbag.

    It’s not for lack of trying. The people who have manned the sandbag-making statins n the middle of cul de sacs have been doing great work, there’s just too many places where they need to go.

    Over at John Brummer’s house yesterday we’d empty out a pallet of sandbags in about 4 minutes and the fire department would direct three more pallets in just as fast as they could, but inevitably we’d have to wait.

    Everybody is like your brother. If it goes to 41 feet, and things hold, they should be fine. But there’s clearly very little faith in the ability to project this flood because it’s gone from 39 to 40 to 41 to 42 and last night to 43 and in their heart of hearts, the people on Riverview are dealing with the realization that it’s not out of the realm of possibility that it goes to 44.

    I’m supposed to get out of here in an hour, but I’ll try to get back down to Riverview Circle.