by Jennifer Ohlhauser
(See the people in the tractor's scoop?)
BLOGGER IS BEING VERY FRUSTRATING TODAY AND I HAVE COMPLETELY RUN OUT OF PATIENCE WITH IT. THE TEXT IS WAY DOWN BELOW, AFTER ALL THESE PHOTOS, WHICH SHOW THE FLOODING SITUATION ALL AROUND SOUTH CENTRAL NORTH DAKOTA IN THE PAST WEEK.
HAZEN, EAST SIDE
by Judy Bakken
by Sadie B, Mandan
ICE JAM ON SPRING CREEK
by Brenda Ferebee, Halliday
by Sue Erickson of Mandan
by Darlene Froelich, Solen
by Cordell J. Brooke of Mandan
by Paula from Linton
by Miranda H. from Beulah, ND
by Corie from Hettinger, ND
(All photos courtesty of Sky Sky Photos, KFYR-TV)
After our blizzard here Wednesday, and some lighter snowfall yesterday, Bismarck's winter of 2008-2009 has the dubious honor of being moved into fourth place for the most snowfall ever in one season. And, we are expecting another "significant" winter storm on Monday. Where did spring go?
Several people have asked me why we wanted to blow up the south ice jam here and didn't want the north jam to break up. Ice jams back up water behind them, and the Missouri flows from north to south here, so the south jam was causing water to pour into SW Bismarck. The north jam, as long as it holds, is keeping the water to north of it. That situation is good for Bismarck, as unfeeling as this attitude is for the poor folks who live along the Missouri's banks to the north.
Also, since the Garrison Dam water release has been cut back to zero, to help Bismarck, the town of Washburn upstream is now short of water because the water level is below the city water intake valve.
The river level has dropped quite a bit here and all evacuated Bismarck residents have now been allowed back in to inspect their homes. However, that does not mean that they will be able to move back in right away, even for those who had no significant water damage. They will have to wait for heat and electricity to be restored. Lots of propane tanks tore loose and floated away.
All attention now turns toward the twin cities of Fargo, ND-Moorhead, MN, where it is said, the residents are entering "uncharted territory", where the river will be "behaving in ways never previously observed." A new forecast has the Red River cresting this weekend at 43 feet - up from the previous prediction of 41 feet. This new prediction has shaken F-M residents' spirits. Their mood has gone from one of "let's beat this thing" to one of near despair that their hard work will be for naught.
"We do not want to give up yet. We want to go down swinging if we go down," Fargo Mayor Dennis Walaker said Thursday, just hours after the disheartening news that forecasters had — yet again — increased the projected crest.
Contrary to the situation in Bismarck, ice jams have not been the big problem in the Red River Valley. So why is flooding there such a major issue? One reason is that the river channel is much, much narrower than that of the Missouri and the land is much flatter. The water has no choice but to spread out over hundreds of miles - be it farmland or city.
Several unusual factors sent the Red River surging to historic heights. The winter was unusually cold and snowy, which left a large snow pack sitting on top of frozen ground that couldn't absorb it. Then a warm snap and heavy rain quickly melted the snow and sent it toward the river.
And it all happened to a river that flows north. (Yes, the Red River of the North is one of the few rivers that flows from south to north, just in case you're ever asked that question in Trivial Pursuit or Jeopardy.)
When most rivers in the United States melt, they send the extra water south toward warmer, open water. When the Red breaks up, it sends hunks of ice north into colder water that is often still frozen.
I won't be writing any more posts about the flood in Fargo - I am sure that FOX and CNN will be providing steady coverage.