FARGO, N.D. -- Volunteers filled and stacked sandbags yesterday to protect houses in North Dakota and Minnesota from the rising Red River and its tributaries, swollen by melting snow and heavy rain.
Mayor Bruce Furness said Fargo was preparing for a flood crest next week of 37 to 38 feet, well above the official flood stage of 18 feet.
However, he has said that would threaten only about 30 homes, compared with about 130 flooded in 1997.
Along with the sandbagging, the mayor said there were signs the river's rise is slowing. ''We're feeling better today than we did yesterday," Furness said.
The rain was part of a line of storms that pounded the Midwest with heavy rain, hail, and tornadoes over the last three days. At least one death was reported.
A 57-year-old woman died in a water-filled ditch, where she apparently fell while trying to walk home early Friday, authorities said. Her car stalled on a flooded section of Interstate 29 in Grand Forks County, N.D.
On the Minnesota side of the Red River valley, the Buffalo River went over its banks. The Rev. Brad Lewis had to use a canoe to get around his five 5-acre farmstead, about 15 miles south of Fargo near Sabin, Minn.
Authorities in Minnesota's Norman County closed highways near Ada because of flooding yesterday.
The severe weather reached Indiana on Friday, and authorities were trying to determine if tornadoes were responsible for damage in the Indianapolis suburb of Greenwood.
''We've got witnesses who did see a funnel cloud drop out of the sky and do the damage to the houses, police Lieutenant Robert Dine said.
He also said that there was''roof damage and a lot of damage to the industrial area," city police Lieutenant Robert Dine said.
Charlie Mascheck and his family had to dash to safety when that storm tore a wall from their house. ''All of a sudden we just heard that sound that everybody tells you about," he said.