Adrian, others ban together to fight floodingIn a town so small it contains no school, no bar, no post office and cellular service so scant residents hike a hill to make a call, neighbors count on neighbors when nature fights with floods. Adrian’s population doesn’t surpass 50 even when counting all the township residents and college students who’ve moved away for school. The town doesn’t have a city hall or community café, so when in need of information or maybe a little gossip, residents gather at the neighborhood grain elevator.
By: Katie Ryan, The Jamestown Sun
ADRIAN, N.D. — In a town so small it contains no school, no bar, no post office and cellular service so scant residents hike a hill to make a call, neighbors count on neighbors when nature fights with floods.
Adrian’s population doesn’t surpass 50 even when counting all the township residents and college students who’ve moved away for school. The town doesn’t have a city hall or community café, so when in need of information or maybe a little gossip, residents gather at the neighborhood grain elevator.
This week was no different — except that the Adrian Equity Elevator served as a town kitchen and overnight shelter as well.
The James River, which streams through the backyards of many Adrian residents, overflowed into parts of LaMoure County Tuesday and Wednesday.
The river claimed at least one house, but no lives and no injuries.
Unlike Fargo, Bismarck and other cities more than 1,000 times its size, Adrian hasn’t received the help of the National Guard, Red Cross or other government and charitable organizations.
“We don’t ever feel like we can depend on the big help,” said Pat Rode, Adrian resident.
So the town takes care of itself.
“I don’t think people understand what happens out here and how we have to deal with it,” she said, pointing to her flooded sod field from the driver’s seat of her pickup.
When Rode heard a potential flood was headed Adrian’s way, she elevated belongings and bought and filled sandbags. She also posted county “road closed” signs and went door to door warning neighbors who likely hadn’t heard.
But Rode wasn’t alone.
Displaced and sleep-de-prived, the whole town has been working together, she said. Residents hauled sand, filled bags, protected homes and moved cattle all week.
“I’ve been in three different beds three different nights,” Rode said.
Senior residents like Doris Rode, Pat’s mother-in-law, and Gladys Ukestad flipped flapjacks Wednesday to serve to hungry helpers. County Commissioner Kenny Rohr-beck manned emergency phones and checked on residents. Adrian’s young people fixed, built and cleaned into early Friday evening.
And while the town didn’t have the helping hands of the military (in fact, its one Guard member was summoned to Fargo) neighboring communities assisted too.
Residents from Marion, Dickey, LaMoure, Montpelier and Jamestown packed and layered sandbags as well, Rode said.
North Dakota State University student Donny Schrader returned to his hometown Friday to assist with cleanup after he’d spent the week sandbagging in Fargo.
He said he wasn’t sure when Adrian would look like its old self.
“It’s going to make for a long spring, that’s for sure,” he said.
For Terry Schulz, help came in the hands of fellow Goodrich Corp. employees.
Many of them engineers, the Goodrich co-workers advised Schulz to sacrifice his garage and save the rest of the house.
Schulz, his wife, Marna, and all the helpers didn’t have enough time, let alone sandbags, to protect the whole house, Schulz said. So they layered bags around the home’s exterior and inside the garage to keep water from entering the kitchen.
Water climbed a foot and a half throughout the garage before receding Thursday, he said. And damage was minimal.
“Boy it was devastating,” he said. “But thank the Lord, it could have been much worse.”
The residents tallied some successes, but others weren’t so lucky.
Lucas and Shawna Rode’s home is likely unlivable after 7 1/2 feet of water invaded its basement.
Lucas is Pat Rode’s son.
The town focused its efforts on the house, she said, but had to sacrifice it to save others.
“We had to give up. We had to quit pumping and we had to let it go,” she said, saying she wished the water engulfed her house, located across the street, instead.
Some residents could find a sense of humor in a state of disarray.
“I heard today that the price of property is going up,” Marna said. “Because I have ocean-front property.”
But although most residents can breathe a sign of relief, many are also breathing deep. The worst is yet to come, said Megan Dally, secretary at the Adrian Equity Elevator.
“It’s not over,” she said. “I’m sorry but it’s not.”
The National Weather Service predicted snow for the Adrian area Sunday and Monday.
Rode and Schulz agreed with Dally.
Their families plan to stuff more sandbags this weekend — with or without outside help.
“Hope for the best, plan for the worst. And that’s how you prepare for a flood,” Rode said.
Sun reporter Katie Ryan can be reached at 701-952-8454 or by e-mail at email@example.com