PEMBINA, N.D. - North Dakota's oldest settlement is expecting the Red River to crest sometime Thursday or Friday at a level lower than predicted.

Pembina Public Works Superintendent Gary Helland said Tuesday the prediction of a 52-foot crest dropped down to 49.5 feet, according to the National Weather Service in Grand Forks.

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"It's only come up 12 hundredths since (Monday) at 4:30 p.m.," Helland said.

Because the crest prediction dropped so much, the city disbanded regular flood meetings, which is good news. Their work isn't over, but they can scale back and just keep a watchful eye on the Red and Pembina rivers.

On Friday, April 19, Helland and Public Works Assistant Blaine Eisenbeis placed clay levees between the Pembina River bridge and the permanent levees and flood wall. The Pembina River water had been slowly creeping up as the Red River backed up into the channel. Their hope was to prevent having to install the flood wall's gate, and it has worked. Earlier in the week, the city closed access to a portion of Pembina State Park, which lies between the Red and Pembina rivers.

Tuesday, Helland said the water reached the bottom of the levees on the Pembina River bridge, but it's moving slowly enough to be manageable.

"The water's going to be here awhile-probably a couple of weeks," Helland said. "Once the water recedes, then we'll start cleanup."

Because the elevation of the land only drops approximately 5 feet between Drayton and the Canadian border, overland flooding along the Red River basin will be an issue over the coming weeks. Helland said Pembina County officials have said the Pembina River already is causing problems in the county.

Despite worries about a need for sandbags, the city has only had one set of people stop and fill a few pallets. On Friday, others were sandbagging around the golf course as a precautionary measure, but no one else has needed to this year, Helland said.

As the crest prediction has dropped, the city has not activated a call for volunteers. However, as the floodwaters hang around over the next few weeks, Helland said the city welcomes anyone willing to volunteer should the need arise. He said to call the city office and speak with City Clerk Lisa Hall.

For now, Helland and Eisenbeis will take a breather. They've been working longer days than usual, and need some rest to handle the next few weeks.

"Spring is here," Helland said. "And it's already been long."