Rain raises Sheyenne River
VALLEY CITY, N.D. - Officials here declared a flood emergency Wednesday, a step that is rarely - if ever - taken in the summer. The Sheyenne River surged Wednesday to 15.5 feet, where it is expected to stay until next week as long as no significa...
VALLEY CITY, N.D. - Officials here declared a flood emergency Wednesday, a step that is rarely - if ever - taken in the summer.
The Sheyenne River surged Wednesday to 15.5 feet, where it is expected to stay until next week as long as no significant rain falls in the meantime, according to the National Weather Service.
Normally the Sheyenne River in August flows through Valley City at about 4.5 feet. Major flood stage is 17 feet.
Heavy rain up to 6 inches in some locations north of Valley City earlier this week caused the U.S. Army Corps of
Engineers to increase releases from Lake Ashtabula at Baldhill Dam.
City Administrator Jon Cameron said pumps have been placed in low-lying areas, and trucks filled with clay are stationed around the city for use if the river goes higher than expected.
The emergency declaration is the first step toward Valley City receiving corps assistance, when and if it's necessary, Cameron said.
"If the river doesn't go up any higher, we don't have to do much more than we've done," Cameron said.
The North Dakota State Water Commission temporarily stopped releases on Tuesday from a Devils Lake outlet, which feeds into the Sheyenne, due to excessive rainfall.
Communities downstream of Valley City on the Sheyenne River are closely watching rain forecasts over the next few days.
The Lisbon City Council made an emergency flood declaration on Monday, but the city located about 70 miles southwest of Fargo won't likely have to put up any additional protection, Mayor Ross Cole said Wednesday.
"I think we'll be OK through this one," Ross said. "Unless we get some big rains over the weekend."
The weather service is tracking a storm that could potentially dump 1 to 3 inches of rain Friday night or Saturday across the valley. The exact amounts and location of the heaviest showers hasn't been determined.
Cass County rivers and the Sheyenne Diversion are very high for this time of year, said County Administrator Keith Berndt.
Most years in August the diversion is dry, he said. When the channel west of West Fargo was designed, it would have been very rare to have it full in August, Berndt said.
Kindred Mayor Wayne Lunder said the city is still deciding what to do about increased flows, which usually hit the city about 30 miles southwest of Fargo a week after Valley City waters rise.
Rural Kindred properties fought spring flooding as the Sheyenne spilled out of its banks, and the corps has indicated breakouts could again occur, Lunder said.
"No one wants to start fighting a flood in the first part of August," said Lunder.
Readers can reach Forum reporter Heidi Shaffer at (701) 241-5511