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Sheets of ice were getting jammed Monday at the Buchanan Bridge on the Pipestem River causing a rise in the water level north of this area. John M. Steiner / The Sun

Stutsman County has been on the calm end of the James River basin in North Dakota so far this spring season, according to Jerry Bergquist, Stutsman County emergency manager.

It is still included in a flood warning issued by the National Weather Service for the counties of LaMoure, Dickey, Kidder, Logan, McIntosh, Emmons and Stutsman. The flood warning remains in effect until 12:30 p.m. Friday.

"Dispatch (Stutsman County Communications Center) had zero calls about roads under water in Stutsman County this weekend," Bergquist said. "The (James River) gauge in Jamestown is going down because there are no releases from the dams and we're running out of local water."

Local ice jams are causing streams to rise in some areas, Bergquist said.

You don't have to go very far south to hear more severe flooding reports.

"The (James River) gauge at Adrian is showing approximately a 2011 level flow," said Kimberly Robbins, LaMoure County emergency manager. "The indications show the river has not crested."

The gauge at Adrian is indicating a river height of about 31 feet. The record for the gauge is about 37 feet in 2009. The current reading ties the third highest ever recorded at the Adrian gauge since it was installed in 2009.

Robbins said the James River level in LaMoure is just over the minor flood stage level at 14.08 feet. The National Weather Service is forecasting a crest Tuesday at 14.3 feet.

LaMoure County officials are also dealing with flooded township roads that are extending south to Dickey County.

"Right now, everything around Fullerton is under water except for access from the north," said Charlie Russell, Dickey County emergency manager.

Many other areas in Dickey County also have flooded roads, he said.

Russell said in some areas, roads can flooded for a time and then have the water recede only to rise again as culverts open and water flows from new areas toward the roads.

"We're encouraging people to stay off the backroads unless they have a reason to be there," he said.

Russell said hay bales in the James River flood plain are also a concern. If the bales breakup and the hay is washed downstream, it could plug culverts in the Sand Lake National Wildlife Refuge in South Dakota. Russell said culverts are used there to control lake levels for waterfowl habitat. If the culverts become plugged, the water could backup into North Dakota.

Flooding in Dickey and LaMoure counties is all being caused by local snowmelt as releases from the Jamestown and Pipestem dams are minimal, according to James Dixon, manager of the Pipestem Dam for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Water levels behind the Pipestem Dam have risen by about 6 feet in the last four days, Dixon said.

"We adjusted the gates Friday to maintain 6 cfs of releases," he said. "That's where it has been all winter."

Once the ice breaks up on Pipestem Dam, the releases will be shut down completely and the level of the lake allowed to rise.

Levels behind the Jamestown Dam are up about 2 feet in the last four days. Currently, there are no releases from the Jamestown Dam.

Officials don't usually make major releases from the two dams until the ice is off the James River and the river has crested at LaMoure. Earlier this spring, the Corps of Engineers estimated the peak combined releases from the two dams at about 750 cfs. That level does not require any flood control efforts in Jamestown, Bergquist said.

The increased levels at Jamestown and Pipestem dams are far below the flood storage capacity of the structures. The 6-foot increase in the level at Pipestem Dam still leaves it about 40 feet below the record lake level in the 2009 flood, Bergquist said.

"We have a long way to go before we see any problems here," he said.

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