The Hot Beat


The second-day story, with your help. Call Gazette reporter Adam Belz at (319) 398-8273 or e-mail him:

Fargo crest predicted at 41 feet

The National Weather Service adjusted the crest prediction for Fargo upward this morning. The Red River is expected to hit 41 feet Saturday morning and stay over 40 feet for a week.

The previous record was 40.1 feet, set in 1897. In 1997, the river reached 39.6 feet.

“I don’t care how old you are,” Fargo Mayor Dennis Walaker told the New York Times. “You haven’t seen this in the [Red River] valley.”

City workers and volunteers are trying to raise the dikes in Fargo to 43 feet, people with disabilities were encouraged to leave the city and hospitals were considering removing some patients.

Some 46 people had been rescued or evacuated from 15 homes in surrounding communities, the AP reported.

Some 80 miles downstream in Grand Forks, only one bridge crosses the river between Grand Forks and East Grand Forks, Minn. All the other bridges are closed. The crest there has been moved back to early Tuesday at 52 feet, though it is expected to hit 51 feet Saturday night. Outside of 1997, when the river hit 54.4 feet, the highest level in Grand Forks was 50.2 feet, in 1897.

But the levee and floodwall system in Grand Forks, which was dedicated in April 2007 on the ten-year anniversary of the flood, protects up to 63 feet. A big part of the reason Jonathan Woods and I are headed up there (we’re on I-35 about 30 miles south of Mason City) is that we want to see how Grand Forks’ system is working. We might be the only reporters there — everyone else will be in Fargo.

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