The biggest flood in area history swallowed large swatches of Minot, North Dakota, Saturday as authorities worked to reinforce levees, protect the city's key infrastructure, and care for residents forced to flee their submerged homes.
Charles Rex Arbogast/AP
Minot, North Dakota
The biggest flood in area history swallowed large swatches of North Dakota's fourth largest city on Saturday, as authorities worked to reinforce levees, protect the city's key infrastructure and care for residents forced to flee their submerged homes.
The Souris River, which flows from Canada southeast into North Dakota, was at least 3.5 feet above the 130-year-old record it shattered on Friday. The river was expected to crest on Sunday to approximately 5 feet over that record and remain there for several days, according to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers spokesman Jeffrey DeZellar.
"The historic flood is hitting. We are working to stem the tide," DeZellar said. "We are mostly working to reinforce emergency levees in Minot and downstream communities. It is very challenging construction."
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Authorities were also trying to stop a bridge that collapsed in the middle of the river from crashing into a downriver dam, a Minot Fire Department official said.
Local and federal officials have moved thousands of tons of dirt to construct levees and dikes and laid sandbags to rein in the waters, DeZellar said.
Some tactics have failed, however, and the floodwaters have all but swallowed more than 3,000 Minot-area homes, according to North Dakota Department of Emergency Services spokeswoman Cecily Fong.
"There is so much water, it's up to and over people's rooftops," Fong said.
Officials' attention has turned to displaced Minot-area residents, more than 12,000 of whom heeded the mandatory evacuation call on Wednesday, Fong said.