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April 14, 1997: The crest forecast rises

On this day, a Monday, Grand Forks and East Grand Forks were told to expect a Red River flood crest between April 19 and 22 -- but at about 50 feet, instead of 49.

On this day, a Monday, Grand Forks and East Grand Forks were told to expect a Red River flood crest between April 19 and 22 -- but at about 50 feet, instead of 49.

The winter's eighth blizzard and higher-than-expected upstream river levels, combined with warmer weather, prompted the first major crest change for the two cities in many weeks, the National Weather Service said.

Most dikes had been raised to about 52 feet already, and the two cities' emergency officials said they could deal with 50 feet. "As long as they don't raise it again," East Grand Forks emergency manager Gary Sanders cautioned.

Upstream at Fargo, a malfunctioning automatic flood gauge -- the second in a week -- was blamed for a weekend crest that did not occur. The crest was changed to about 38 feet on Tuesday. On this day, the Red at Fargo reached 37.4 feet, a 20th-century record.

More Breckenridge, Minn., residents evacuated as crews repaired some dike leaks. In Grafton, N.D., workers repaired a levee leak. According to reports from Minto, N.D., the flooded Forest River had claimed a city block, while water from storm drains poured into streets.

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Back in Grand Forks, crews began building a Columbia Road clay dike from 10th Avenue North to, and through, U.S. Highway 81. In East Grand Forks, Minnesota National Guard members visited low-lying neighborhoods to survey people about possible evacuation destinations.

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