N.D. officials recommend more evacuations as flooding threat to city grows
MINOT, N.D. — The threat of flooding for North Dakota’s fourth-largest city worsened yesterday, as accelerated releases from an upstream dam into the Souris River led officials to recommend more evacuations and close a major bridge.
As many as 10,000 residents were evacuated a day earlier from neighborhoods nearest the Souris, which cuts through the heart of Minot. It wasn’t immediately clear how many more people were affected by the new advisory.
“The bottom line is they’re just trying to get everybody out of the area where they think the property is going to be inundated,’’ said National Guard Captain Dan Murphy.
Swollen by heavy rains and snowmelt far upstream, the Souris has risen rapidly since the weekend. Yesterday, officials accelerated the release of water from the Lake Darling dam and said that could raise the river 2 to 3 feet higher than earlier projections.
Officials also announced the closure of the Broadway Bridge, shutting down a key north-south artery in the city. Major traffic jams were reported as officials asked residents not to travel north unless of an emergency.
Kathy Sivertson, 52, who lives a block above the initial evacuation zone, took the news in stride, moving her belongings out of her basement but saying she’d stay in her house until “they kick me out.’’
Meanwhile, Leon Delker, 55, who lives nine blocks from the river, brought in a survey crew to plug in the new numbers and determine the water was likely to go 3 feet up on his front door. He planned to clear out everything but the American flag in front of his home and “stay out until this thing is over.’’