|Residents are once again preparing to fight Red River flooding that inundated parts of Fargo, N.D., last year. (Associated Press/ File 2009)|
FARGO, N.D. — North Dakota and Minnesota residents who fought off record flooding a year ago in a frantic one-week sandbagging effort were jolted yesterday by the prospect of doing it again.
The latest flood forecast from the National Weather Service shows the river rising to 38 feet in Fargo by week’s end before leveling off. That would be 20 feet above flood stage and about 3 feet below last year’s record. The crest had been expected later this month or early April.
The cities of Fargo and neighboring Moorhead, Minn., have been filling sandbags for the last two weeks, but hadn’t planned to hand them out until later.
Last week’s unprecedented mild temperatures and persistent rainfall led to the accelerated crest forecast, weather service spokesman Greg Gust said yesterday. “The spring snowmelt runoff has kicked into high gear across the southern half of the Red River basin,’’ Gust said.
Last year the crest prediction was bumped up by more than three weeks because of March precipitation. Volunteers worked around the clock to fill and stack about 6 million sandbags, many of which were delivered on flatbed trucks with police escorts.