DRAYTON, N.D.-A man drives through downtown Drayton in a pickup truck, a small boat in tow behind him.
"Oh, he'll need that," Mayor Chip Olson said, laughing.
The driver, Ryan Woinarowicz, farms on the other side of the river in Minnesota.
"At some point, Highway 220 will go under and he'll have to take the boat over to town," Olson said.
These are normal springtime activities in Drayton and much of the Red River Valley as communities along the river prepare for flooding.
At 32 feet, the Red River at Drayton is considered in "flood stage." There is a 90 percent chance the river will rise to 38 feet, which would be a "moderate" flood for the area.
Drayton's record was 45.5 feet in 1997. There is a 5 percent chance the Red River will crest higher than that this year, according to predictions from the National Weather Service.
Jason Woinarowicz, Drayton's emergency manager and Ryan's father, said it takes about a day for public works employees to put up the earthen clay dike; 2009 was the last time the water got high enough for the city to fill in the dike.
"We're keeping an eye on it," Woinarowicz said. "First we watch Fargo and see what happens there and then we'll watch Grand Forks."
Woinarowicz lived on the other side of the Red River in Minnesota during the Flood of 1997. He said he lost his house in that flood, he was newly married and had children.
"I don't want to go through '97 again," Woinarowicz said.
Olson echoed those concerns.
"In 1997, we almost lost the city," Olson said.
Drayton is well prepared today, Olson said. Now officials and residents just watch the river.
"It's a waiting game," Olson said.
Farther south in Minto, N.D., Mayor Larry Jamieson said the town has 5,000 sandbags and all of the sand the town needs.
"We will continue to monitor, get updates and react accordingly," Jamieson said. "We're kind of in a holding pattern right now."
As the town gets predictions out of Grafton, N.D., Jamieson said Minto will decide what to do.
"We don't anticipate a huge problem right now," he said. "We know what we need to do and we should be prepared for that."
The Forest River in Minto rose to 9.11 feet in 1997. It is currently sitting at around 1 foot. A level of 4.5 feet will prompt the town will take action. There is a 50 percent chance the river will get that high this year.
In Hillsboro, N.D., the Goose River is sitting around 2 feet. The river will be considered in "flood stage" at 10 feet.There is about an 80 percent chance the river will swell to 10 feet, according to the NWS.
In 2009, the river crested at 16.67 feet; the only recorded time the river was higher was in 1979 at 16.76 feet.
Chris West, mayor of Grafton, said the city also is waiting to see how the melt goes.
Grafton, which sits on the Park River, has serviced city-owned pumps so they are ready to be used if needed; the city has gotten sand and prepared sandbags.
"We've had a couple meetings about it now, and all our ducks are in a row in that regard," West said.
The city will sandbag problem areas when the river gets to 14 feet. The Leistikow Memorial Park and the Fair Oaks Golf Course are parts of town that will see the most water. When the river reaches 12 feet, water starts seeping into the park, West said. There is about an 80 percent chance the river will rise to 12 feet, according to the NWS.
The Park River at Grafton is about 7 feet high now.
The city has links for the current river reading and links to videos on how to protect homes from a flood, such as sump pump maintenance and sandbagging safety tips, on the city's emergency management website.
"We're good at fighting floods around here," West said. "We're used to it."