Part of south Moorhead evacuated as precautionMoorhead and Clay County law enforcement officials directed part of south Moorhead to evacuate Thursday as a new Red River flood crest cast doubt on whether dikes in the area could take the strain.
By: Dave Olson, INFORUM
Moorhead and Clay County law enforcement officials directed part of south Moorhead to evacuate Thursday as a new Red River flood crest cast doubt on whether dikes in the area could take the strain.
“We’re hoping for the best,” said Moorhead City Manager Mike Redlinger. The city believes most dikes in the evacuation zone have been built to a height of 43 feet.
The latest flood crest prediction is for 42 feet on Saturday.
Volunteers working on dikes in the evacuation zone were pulled out of the area Thursday night.
Redlinger said officials will patrol the area and keep an eye on dikes.
He said people who are not in the evacuation zone should be prepared to plug floor drains, toilets and sinks in basement levels on short notice.
Redlinger said Moorhead dikes are being monitored for leaks and anyone spotting a problem during daytime hours was urged to call the city at (218) 299-5390.
The city can be reached after hours at (218) 299-5386.
Just minutes before Thursday’s frightening crest update, Moorhead Mayor Voxland spoke at a news conference at city hall.
At that point, his outlook was upbeat.
Voxland said he had spent the day checking sandbagging operations and things looked good.
“We’re still picking up garbage every day,” he added. “Believe it or not, the day we didn’t have snow we were filling potholes. We’re still functioning as a city,” said Voxland.
The mood quickly changed, however, when the news conference was interrupted with word of the higher crest prediction.
The news prompted the city to toughen an evacuation notice issued earlier in the day, which announced the opening of the Red Cross center at Moorhead High.
That’s where Monique Delonais and her 2-month-old son ended up Thursday night about 9 p.m.
“I didn’t expect to leave,” said the resident of Moorhead’s 32nd Avenue South. “This is really hard.”
‘What do I do?’
The 26-year-old mother of two had about 45 minutes to gather what she and her children would need for about a week. Delonais said her landlord questioned why she wasn’t more prepared, but she didn’t expect the flood would be this severe.
“I was crying because it’s like what do I do?” said Delonais.
The family is among the first south Moorhead residents to arrive at the evacuation center at Moorhead Senior High.
The gymnasium is set up with cots and a television set. Each person receives a blanket and a “comfort kit” that contains toiletries such as a toothbrush, deodorant and a wash cloth.
Delonais has a lot of questions, such as how she will get her 7-year-old to school if classes aren’t canceled next week.
“It’s really depressing,” she said.
Concordia College officials announced Thursday night that the school would close today.
Water and sewer services were turned off and students who could safely leave Thursday night were asked to do so.
If that wasn’t possible, students were told to leave as soon as possible today, but not before informing family.
The Centrum will be the center for information on campus. The Student Affairs office can be reached at (218) 299-3455.
The college plans to update students and staff through the school’s e2campus text messaging system, e-mail and the
college Web site, www.
Readers can reach Forum reporter Dave Olson at (701) 241-5555
Moorhead evacuation info:
- Moorhead residents who live between Interstate 94 and 50th Avenue South west of Eighth Street were directed to evacuate their homes Thursday night.
- An emergency shelter has been set up at Moorhead High School. People should go to door No. 8 on the north side of the school near the Sports Center.
- The shelter does not take pets. Check with Doggy Depot (218) 236-DOGS, or Mutt Hut, (218) 236-9935, both in Moorhead, for availability of space.
- Anyone evacuating should call (218) 477-4747 to document the move and to leave information where friends and family can find them. People with questions should call the same number.
- For people leaving Moorhead, the main routes that remain open are Highway 10 and Interstate 94. The city of Moorhead was working late Thursday to get I-94 ramps at Eighth Street South reopened. Lacking that, people can access I-94 at 20th Street South, as well as Main Avenue where it turns into Old Highway 52.
- People leaving homes in Moorhead are being told to plug all sewer drains, including floor drains and sinks in lower levels.
- They’re also being told to shut off water, but to leave electricity and gas services on.
- The city of Moorhead provides daily flood updates at 4 p.m. in a news conference that is televised on local public access Channel 12.