As Rush River water moves east, Harwood prepares for flood fight

Harwood is days away from what's expected to be a formidable flood fight as ice and water quickly flow into town.

The Rush River near Harwood.
Ryan Longnecker / WDAY News

HARWOOD, N.D. — In just a few days, the spot where the Sheyenne River and Rush River intersect is going to look very different.

The Sheyenne at Harwood is expected to crest at 91.3 feet, which is 7.3 feet above flood stage. That is less than a foot from the record they set in 1997. But with how wide things get at this height, city leaders tell WDAY News it would take a lot more water to break the record.

Blocks of ice are slowly making their way through the Rush, with its water flow noticeably picking up speed Tuesday, April 18.

East of town, along the river, water levels are getting close to bridges. Massive chunks of ice are seen tunneling under the bridge, or splashing up on the other side as the fast-moving current of the rush carries them closer to Harwood.

A few miles north of Mapleton, North Dakota, along the Rush, an excavator was seen Tuesday afternoon hammering away at an ice jam to keep the floodwater from backing up into a nearby home.


"The Rush, the Red and the Sheyenne all meet here at Harwood, and we're watching when they're all going to crest and how that is going to impact the city of Harwood," said Harwood Mayor Blake Hankey.

Hankey said they are familiar with the flood battle and are prepared. A lot of Harwood's homes are built high enough to keep the water at bay, though many others are still bracing for impact. Pallets of sandbags are seen at the ready in some front yards as homeowners stay prepared ahead of the crest.

According to Cass County engineer Jason Benson, anyone who lives in this part of rural Cass County, and had to throw sandbags in 2019, should ask the county for sandbags now before the water gets too high.

"Because it's a lot more challenging to get sandbags if you got to throw them in a boat or canoe to get them to your property," Benson said. "So we want to get them in while the roads are dry and while you've got access."

Cass County engineers are keeping a close watch on places between Harwood and Argusville, saying the next few days of flood preparations will be critical for these areas.

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