GRAND FORKS — The Grand Forks County Sheriff is warning the public to avoid county roads as nearby rivers and creeks rise.
"The waters are rising up really fast," said Grand Forks County Sheriff Andy Schneider. "The northeast and southeast roads along the Turtle River and Coal Creek are going under quickly."
In fact, Schneider highlights gravel roads as the most dangerous. The overflowing water on these roads can be deceiving, as drivers cannot always discern the gravel-covered road and the depth of the water that covers it.
"You could have a 6-inch to 6-foot gap in the road," he said. "Your vehicle would be swimming."
Schneider estimates the water in some places could be more than a foot deep. It takes just 6 inches to move a car.
Since March 31, at least one car has ended up underwater, along with construction equipment, according to police reports.
The rising water may only be high in Grand Forks county during the next few days, but ice jams could create additional flooding problems along rivers and tributaries in the region.
"Right now we have more than 20 roads closed among the county highway department and townships," Schneider said. "These numbers are going to keep increasing."
Schneider advises drivers to avoid water-covered roads whenever possible.
"Be alert when you're driving on the back roads — especially don't be driving around any barricades if the road closed sign is up. It's up for a reason," he said.
Anyone caught driving around closed roads could face a fine of up to $250.