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Flooding in Northern Valley has residents wading through the water

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From left to right: Kelsey Kersten, her boyfriend Tony Cook and sister Emily Kersten wade through the flooded Turtle River as they leave their house in rural Manvel, N.D. Tanner Robinson / WDAY

MANVEL, N.D. — The Turtle River in rural Grand Forks County was flowing fast Saturday, July 4, after it got hit by recent rounds of heavy rain.

For Kelsey Kersten, her sister Emily and boyfriend Tony Cook, their house has become waterfront property.

"You've got 'Lake Manvel' right here," Kelsey said, gesturing to where her house is.

The National Weather Service said the area the Kerstens live in, which is almost 20 miles north of Grand Forks, was hit by three and a half inches of rain Saturday morning, which added onto the rain from earlier this week, causing the river to flood.

"(You have a) flash flood one morning, you go to bed, it's fine," Kelsey said. "The next morning, you wake up and the river's in your yard."

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Once they saw the river rise further, the Kerstens had to race to get everything they could out of the water.

"My Trail Blazer got some water in it, so I had to get that out right away, and we had to move the rest of our cars, and it was just crazy," Emily said.

They ended up losing one car out of their four to the flood, but for the cars they saved, the Kerstens saw more evidence of Mother Nature's wrath.

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In addition to flood damage, some cars the Kersten family drives have hail damage, including Kelsey's truck, pictured here. Tanner Robinson / WDAY

"It was definitely the hail," Cook said of Kelsey's hood of her new pickup truck, which had multiple dents.

When describing what he had to wade through, Cook used a popular farm expression for this time of year.

"They say the corn is supposed to be knee-high by the 4th of July, and the water is knee-high now on the 4th of July, so it's not good," he said.

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Out of the 16 years they've lived in the neighborhood, the Kerstens said they've seen flooding four times, but not of this size.

"That current is no joke," Kelsey said. "You have to keep sure foot, or you'll swim off."

While they wait for the river to recede, the Kerstens have already started to think of other ways to get around, like their neighbors' boat.

"We might be just driving it along in the field just to get to our cars," Emily said.

But in the meantime, they said they're doing their best to swim — rather than sink — in floodwaters.

Tanner Robinson is a producer for First News on WDAY-TV.
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