Pembina County struggling to second guess river levelsNeche, N.D., likely will have to wait until next week for the expected overland flooding from the west to arrive. The Pembina County town received a taste of water overtopping roads early Monday, but the flows surprisingly stopped. They earlier were predicted to return this weekend, but now the National Weather Service is saying next week after the Pembina River at Walhalla crests.
By: By Ryan Bakken, Forum Communications Co., The Jamestown Sun
Neche, N.D., likely will have to wait until next week for the expected overland flooding from the west to arrive.
The Pembina County town received a taste of water overtopping roads early Monday, but the flows surprisingly stopped. They earlier were predicted to return this weekend, but now the National Weather Service is saying next week after the Pembina River at Walhalla crests.
The Pembina has dropped two feet at Walhalla and a foot at Neche since Tuesday. Log jams and ice jams are being blamed for the fluctuations.
“Even though the level is dropping, we keep hearing from people that a wall of water is eventually coming,” Neche Mayor Lee Beattie said. “So, we really don’t know.
“Every other year with our river at this level, the fields are full and Highway 18 is overrun (with water). So, we don’t have an answer.”
Other than maybe needing minor sandbagging for road closures and rural ring dikes, the area is prepared, Beattie said.
“It’s to the point now that we want it to come so we can get done with it,” he said. “But the weather and the water don’t work that way. They have their own schedule.”
Drayton: Ready for crest
The predicted Red River crest at Drayton has been lowered a foot to 43.5, two feet below the historic high set in 1997.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers-built temporary dike is able to handle that level and higher, said Jill Pedersen, the Pembina County emergency manager.
“Every flood year, the Corps builds a dike on Main Street,” Pedersen said. “Then after the flood, they have to take it down because the bank isn’t stable and can’t withstand the weight of the temporary dike.
“They’ve got everything down pretty good. It’s pretty quiet there.”
Twelve members of the National Guard are helping with dike patrol.
The major flooding difference in Drayton this year is that the new bridge allows access to Minnesota.
“It’s a treat to have in a flood situation,” said Andy Adamson, a county commissioner who lives in Drayton. “A lot of people have commented about how much that means to them to get back-and-forth.”
Pedersen said flooding in the county is mostly limited to areas near the Red and Pembina rivers. It is not experiencing the overland flooding found to the south. The number of road closures and cut-off farmsteads are mounting, however.
“Our biggest concern is that the Pembina and Red are predicted to crest at the same time near the end of the month,” Pedersen said.
Ryan Bakken is a reporter at the Grand Forks Herald,
which is owned by Forum Communications Co.