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Published April 14, 2009, 11:47 AM

FLOOD UPDATE: LaMoure dam shows signs of erosion as floodwaters inundate county

LAMOURE, N.D. - Engineers are monitoring erosion of the emergency spillway at Lake LaMoure Dam, and one home downstream has been evacuated as a precaution, a county official says.

By: Mike Nowatzki, INFORUM

LAMOURE, N.D. - Engineers are monitoring erosion of the emergency spillway at Lake LaMoure Dam, and one home downstream has been evacuated as a precaution, a county official says.

Lake LaMoure is roughly four miles south of the city of LaMoure. The lake is fed by Cottonwood Creek, which drains a 75-mile-long area northwest of the dam, County Commissioner Bruce Klein said.

Water hasn’t topped the emergency spillway since 1997, but during a previous river crest this spring, water flowing over the spillway caused minor erosion, Klein said.

“For some reason, this time we’re seeing much more severe erosion,” he said.

The dam has not failed, Klein said. The Army Corps of Engineers and State Water Commission sent engineers to monitor the spillway, he said, adding officials took an aerial tour of the county this morning.

“There is a lot of water to move through that system, but the good news is the erosion seems to have really slowed up since last night,” he said.

One home downstream from the dam was voluntarily evacuated, he said.

A no-travel advisory was issued this morning for county and township roads throughout the county, as many have been inundated by water spilling out of the James River and Cottonwood Creek.

County Highway Superintendent Gene Hebl said “at least 40 percent” of the county’s roads have water on them, and many have been blocked off.

“It’s a tough situation. We’re running out of signs,” he said.

“I’ve essentially lived here my whole life. I’ve never seen anything like it,” Klein said. “Our roads are really suffering. We’re losing them left and right. It’s really getting hard to direct people how to get home or away.”

By late morning, the James River had come up about a foot in Adrian and Grand Rapids, and that water is headed south to LaMoure, said Rita Egan, a FEMA official volunteering at the county’s emergency operations center. A couple dozen homes had been voluntarily evacuated in the county, she said.

The James River at LaMoure was forecast to crest at 18.3 feet on Thursday, which would be 2.1 feet higher than the record set in 1969. The river was at 16.07 feet as of 9 a.m. today, according to the National Weather Service.

The corps is reinforcing LaMoure’s dikes to a river level of 20.5 feet, Klein said.

LaMoure is about 60 miles southeast of Jamestown.

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