Masthead graphic based on a painting by Gudrun Thriemer.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Dave Kolpak, "River rises 5 feet in day, record flood possible,", March 24, 2009.

FARGO, N.D. (AP) - Volunteers and government teams threw everything they could Tuesday into the fight against the rising Red River as the water rose 5 feet in a day on its way to possible record flooding.

The city was even getting a portable wall system that shielded troops in Iraq and Afghanistan from bullets.

"I think it's going to be a lifesaver," Al Weigel, Fargo's director of operations, said Monday of the wall system.

Across the river in neighboring Moorhead, Minn., Mayor Mark Voxland said the projected arrival of the crest in the area had been moved up to Thursday afternoon. He said the National Weather Service expects a crest in the range of 41 feet to 41.5 feet, which would top the record of 39.6 feet set in the devastating 1997 flood.

Voxland estimated 70 percent of the needed sandbags are already in place.

Flood stage is 18 feet. The river was just below major flood stage of 30 feet Tuesday morning, up from 25 feet on Monday morning, the weather service said.

An emergency dike to protect downtown Fargo was being raised to 42 feet, but the expected crest would threaten several neighborhoods and hundreds of homes in lower areas.

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