Governor visits Valley City for flood briefing
VALLEY CITY, N.D. -- North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple headed to Valley City on Sunday to get a firsthand flood briefing and visit with National Guard soldiers, who are helping community volunteers build up levees to protect the city from the risi...
VALLEY CITY, N.D. -- North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple headed to Valley City on Sunday to get a firsthand flood briefing and visit with National Guard soldiers, who are helping community volunteers build up levees to protect the city from the rising Sheyenne River.
The governor and First Lady Betsy Dalrymple also were visiting the emergency operations center where the flood fight is headquartered.
The city has been scrambling to add another foot-and-a-half to its levees to deal with an expected record crest of 21.2 to 21.5 feet on the Sheyenne River.
As long as levees are built at 24 feet, things will be "under control," Bob Werkhoven, mayor of the town of 6,500, told The Forum newspaper.
The mayor said he expects the levees to be finished by Wednesday. Plans also are in motion to build contingency dikes around Valley City.
"It's a precautionary thing," Werkhoven said. "There's no problem now, but it could turn into one."
River levels on Saturday were about 3 inches from the record crest of 20.69 feet in 2009. The National Weather Service predicted the river would reach 20.7 feet late Sunday night or Monday morning.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers planned to increase outflows at Baldhill Dam, which controls water coming down the river at bloated Lake Ashtabula, to a record 7,500 cubic feet per second on Sunday or Monday, sending more water down the river.
After the city announced it was building the contingency dikes, some homeowners had only two hours before trucks began swarming their neighborhood. Many decided to pack up and move out until the water levels drop.
Trina Lee and her family have lived in their Valley City home for five years.
She said everybody's moving out down the street, but a few good friends and high spirits are keeping her optimistic that water won't flood her home.
"You just got to keep a lighthearted tone about it, you know," she told television station KXMB. "Otherwise, you'll just drive yourself crazy worried."
Some 400,000 sandbags from the city of Fargo arrived Saturday, and volunteers and North Dakota National Guard soldiers began placing them between the river and property in Valley City and surrounding Barnes County.