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Flood watch continues in LaMoure

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Buildings at the Memorial Park in Grand Rapids remain innundated even as flood water on portions of the James River in LaMoure County begin to fall. Courtesy / Forum News Service2 / 2

Officials in LaMoure County are keeping an eye on a river that doesn't seem to be receding after cresting near the moderate flood stage, according to Kimberly Robbins, LaMoure County emergency manager.

Levels of the James River at the city of LaMoure were at 15.9 feet since the early morning hours of Thursday, April 4. Forecasts from the National Weather Service call for the river to remain at or near that level until early Sunday morning.

"We're watching the river level closely. We had some fluctuations last night," Robbins said, referring to Thursday night. "There is uncertainty if that's due to ice jams or other causes."

The city of LaMoure reinforced its dikes to the 17 foot level on Thursday through the efforts of community volunteers, said Vince Watkins, city councilman and public information officer for the flood battle.

"The community pulled together," he said.

Watkins said the good news is the water is receding north of the city of LaMoure although they remain unsure when it will start declining at the city.

"The water has gone down at Grand Rapids," he said. "People living along the river between Grand Rapids and LaMoure also report the river is going down."

Further south in Dickey County, the problem is not the James River but overland flooding, according to Charlie Russell, Dickey County emergency manager.

"Overland flooding has caused some of the culverts to pop out of the ground," Russell said, referring to areas in western Dickey County. "We're fixing the roads as quickly as possible."

In some areas, as new culverts open and more water comes through, roads that previously washed out and were repaired wash out a second time, Russell said.

The weather forecast for the weekend also poses risks for LaMoure and Dickey counties. The National Weather Service is forecasting highs near 50 degrees on Saturday and near 60 degrees on Sunday. There is also an up to 50% chance of rain at times with fog and thunderstorms possible across the region.

Russell said fog would a particular concern for people traveling on rural roads and not able to see washouts.

"We're watching the weather too," said Robbins. "Thunderstorms and warm conditions could change the situation rapidly."

Russell said up to 3-foot-deep snowbanks remain over large areas of Dickey County near the LaMoure County border.

"We're really concerned about 60 degree weather and rain," he said.

View a video of drone coverage from LaMoure County at www.Jamestownsun.com