HARWOOD, N.D. — Residents of the Harwood area were being urged on Friday, April 5, to brace for overland flooding as National Guard troops headed to Cass County to help with flood-fighting efforts.
Late Friday, the Sheyenne River gauge at Harwood was observed at over 89 feet.
The Sheyenne River at Harwood is expected to exceed 91 feet by Saturday morning, April 6. Major flood stage is 91 feet.
At that river level, many areas both north and south of Harwood will be impacted by overland flooding, Cass County officials said in a statement.
Officials urged residents in these areas to make final preparations now. This includes placing sandbags, fueling generators and pumps, and otherwise taking precautions to protect property.
Cass County sheriff’s deputies, engineering staff and additional resources will be in Harwood Friday and over the weekend. More information is available on the "2019 Flood Information" tab at www.casscountynd.gov.
Guard deployed, ops center opened
Meanwhile, the North Dakota National Guard and North Dakota Department of Emergency Services are joining the flood fight in Cass County.
At Cass County's request, the National Guard is deploying a quick-response force of up to 10 soldiers, as well as trucks for hauling sandbags and a vehicle for evacuation and rescue for emergency calls, if needed, starting Saturday through April 14.
Also, the sheriff's office on Friday announced it had opened its Tactical Operations Center to assist with the county's flood-fighting efforts. The TOC is in the Cass County Sheriff’s Office Law Enforcement Center at 1612 23rd Ave. N. in Fargo.
Activating the TOC will help streamline and coordinate resources while providing an immediate response for citizens calling to obtain flood-fighting information.
The phone number for the TOC, which doubles as the county's flood hotline, is 701-241-8000.
Entities represented at the TOC include: the sheriff’s office; the North Dakota Highway Patrol; Cass County Emergency Management; the Cass County Highway Department; and the North Dakota National Guard. The TOC will operate 24 hours a day until further notice.
The help from the National Guard comes after Gov. Doug Burgum declared a statewide flood emergency last week and after the state Emergency Commission voted Friday to release $300,000 in contingency funds to cover immediate costs incurred by the Guard and other agencies.
The North Dakota National Guard also will help the city of LaMoure in flood-fighting efforts. The state has supplied Hesco barriers and sandbags to LaMoure to help protect against the flooding James River.
Although melt conditions have been ideal so far, flooding areas still face significant risk from ice jams or thunderstorms, said Maj. Gen. Alan Dohrmann, the state's adjutant general.
"Our intent is to have resources available so we can react very quickly if need be," he told the Emergency Commission.
Red River Basin outlook
The Red River in Fargo-Moorhead has entered major flood stage, and exceeded 31 feet Friday afternoon on the way to its predicted crest of 35 feet on Sunday.
Moderate or major flooding continues throughout the Red River Basin, and flooding is expected to increase over most areas north of Wahpeton-Breckenridge, affecting many roads and farmsteads.
Ice jams might increase on area streams and rivers as increased runoff piles up behind remaining river ice downstream, the National Weather Service advised Friday.
All Minnesota and North Dakota tributaries and the Red River will continue their rises through the weekend. The Maple and Sheyenne rivers in Cass County continue to be ice-impacted, but warmer temperatures will help break up the ice through the weekend, according to the weather service.
The Buffalo River in Clay County has started to fall, but will remain high between Dilworth and the Red River.
Areas north of Fargo, from Halstad-Hendrum to Grand Forks-East Grand Forks, will see a later response on rivers and streams, but levels will increase through the weekend and into next week.
Rains are possible Friday and through the weekend. Light rain and snow are possible Monday through Wednesday in southeast North Dakota and west-central Minnesota, according to the weather service.
Up to half an inch of rain is possible Sunday throughout the region, and up to a quarter of an inch of moisture is possible in rain and snow that could fall Wednesday in southeast North Dakota and west-central Minnesota, according to the weather service forecast.