Editor’s note: If you would like to contribute photos, descriptions or video of the western-central North Dakota floods to this blog e-mail Shane Mercer at firstname.lastname@example.org to become a community contributor. Thank you.
As I write this Â North Dakota’s fourth largest city, Minot, is gearing up for the fight of its life. Â A flood of historic proportion is expected in the coming days, and from the sounds of it, toÂ virtuallyÂ swallow one quarter of the city. Â That is only property wise, people wise it will effect almost everyone in one way or another. Â Minot still heralds a Â closeness of a small town, or at least a medium sized community. Â Everyone will have a story to tell of the 2011 flood.
The Mouse River (Mouse in the US and Souris in Canada) is a u-shaped muddy affair that comes into North Dakota near Sherwood and leaves at Westhope. Â At its southern most swoop it comes to my little hamlet of Velva; Â the childhood home of the late Eric Sevareid, me and about 1,000 other really good (for the most part) people.
We depend on Minot to be our “big city.” Â Twenty-two miles away, which takes about twenty-one minutes to get there. Â It is where we go for the big stuff: cars, broken bones, Â Walmart. Â The necessities no longer afforded byÂ small towns.
As we hear of the pending doom, we are saddened Â down deep. Â Down to places we don’t mingle with on a daily basis, like death, or family secrets. Â It makes us face the painful unknown. We can’t walk away from it because it is everywhere for those of us along the river. Â And until it is over, it will keep nagging and pulling at our time, our day, at us. Â Laughter will swoop in, and then oh… it’s Â all still there. Â Right now, that is where we are at in these here parts. Â Sad.
I drove into Minot yesterday and saw families loading up and hauling out at record speed. Â Many, for the second time since the first of June. Â My niece has moved her piano three time in three weeks, and not just to the other side of the room either.
Minot had its first flood evacuation in the early June. Â It was short lived and shy on damage. Â Now with extended rainfall, sometimes in mega doses, Â fullÂ reservoirsÂ in Canada and upstream in North Dakota, combined with the DesLacs river, Â the mighty Mouse is set to roar, its loudest, angriest bite ever.
I Â grew up in Fargo and was sandbagging in their ’69 flood. Â Minot had its own nightmareÂ spewingÂ forth at the same time. Â Minot was inundated with rampant water and Â the valley was flooded to the rafters. Â After those horrifying days anÂ efficientÂ channelÂ Â and diking system were put into place. Â Well protected seemed to be the sentiment throughout theÂ ensuingÂ years. Â It is hard to fathom this protection is jeopardizing the Magic City. Â But like so many levees in place, all over the country, it isn’t really the dirt to blame. Â No, it mother nature at work.
In the coming days I will make a meager attempt to share with you my views of the flood of the century taking place in my little corner of the world.