A series of storms drenched central Grand Forks County Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning, flooding fields, overwhelming drains and swamping farmsteads.
As much as 11.5 inches of rain fell southwest of Emerado, according to unofficial reports. Other amounts recorded in rain gauges across the county included 10 inches near Arvilla, 6.5 inches near Manvel and 5 inches near Kempton. In neighboring Traill County, N.D., south and west of Grand Forks, there were reports of 8 inches of rain near Hatton.
Grand Forks received 3.56 inches of rain in town, and 5.54 inches near the airport. A flood warning was issued for the Grand Forks area starting at 7 a.m. Wednesday and lasting until 11 a.m. Thursday, July 2.
Rain began falling on the Leslie and Jon Rethemeier farmstead about 10 miles southwest of Emerado at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Leslie Rethemeier said.
“It rained hard, probably until 7:30 and then we caught a break,” she said.
About 6.5 inches of rain fell in that first downpour, she said. But the break ended in the early morning hours of Wednesday, when about 5 more inches fell, Rethemeier said.
The rainwater surrounded their farmstead and washed out roads, leaving them marooned. Meanwhile, the Rethemeiers have water in their basement and by mid-morning Wednesday were using a sump pump to keep it at bay.
Besides their farmstead, she was concerned about the family's crops.
“Everything is flooded now, but hopefully it will go down,” Rethemeier said Wednesday morning.
East of the Rethemeier place, Bret Erickson and Bob Hewitt were using four-wheelers to check gravel roads about six miles southwest of Emerado early Wednesday. The roads leading to and from Erickson’s nearby farmstead were flooded, he said.
“I’ve got gigantic washouts on both sides,” Erickson said. “I’ll be lucky if I can get out by Friday.”
The Emerado Fire Department building was flooded, damaging walls.
Farther east, much of the town of Arvilla was flooded Wednesday morning.
Terry Petsinger, who has a farm on the south edge of town, recorded 5.7 inches in his rain gauge. Initially, some of the water backed up into his basement, but the sump pump took care of it, and there didn't seem to be significant damage, he said.
Like the Rethemeiers, the water surrounding Petsinger's farmstead prevented him from checking his farm fields Wednesday morning.
“I haven’t driven out,” Petsinger said, noting he didn’t have high hopes for flooded cropland.
“There’s a lot of damage out there,” he said.
The damage included fields near Honeyford, N.D., where about 6 inches of rain fell, turning cropland into lakes.
Besides flooded fields, water flowing over township roads was common throughout central Grand Forks County Wednesday morning.
“Half of the roads you go, there’s water over the roads,” Erickson said.
Water also was running across U.S. Highway 2 east of Grand Forks Air Force Base early Wednesday morning. Meanwhile, there were reports of culverts washed out in northwest Grand Forks County near Manvel.
The docks on the Red Lake River in East Grand Forks and the Red River north of Riverside Dam in Grand Forks have been removed due to rising river levels, according to a statement from the city of Grand Forks. The boat launches on both rivers are open but will be monitored throughout the week.
The floating docks downtown will remain in place but may close as the rivers rise. Current river levels on the Red River are 18.77 feet and expected to rise over the next few days, the city reported.