The Red River was officially above flood stage — 18 feet — and sandbagging efforts began to ramp up.

The mission: To fill 2 million sandbags to protect Fargo and Cass County from the Red, now expected to crest between 37 and 40 feet between March 28 and April 4.

Work already was under way on emergency dikes around downtown Fargo’s City Hall, and residents of Oakport Township north of Moorhead were busily sandbagging their homes, hoping to avoid another disaster like 1997.

The biggest challenge was finding enough volunteers to get the jobs done. After all, thousands of students and other would-be volunteers were in Minneapolis, cheering on the Bison men’s basketball team’s debut at The Big Dance.

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Meanwhile, Moorhead Mayor Mark Voxland also urged residents to sandbag, fearing 600 to 700 houses could be affected if the river got as high as predicted.

Check back tomorrow to see what was happening in the fight against the Red River in 2009. You can purchase a copy of "Will Over Water" at