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N.D. AREA FLOODING: Grafton, Minto, other communities take action

Temporary levees were being built Wednesday in Grafton, N.D. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was working on the Fourth and Fifth Street entrances to Leistikow Park, as well as along the bank of the Park River west of town.

Temporary levees were being built Wednesday in Grafton, N.D. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was working on the Fourth and Fifth Street entrances to Leistikow Park, as well as along the bank of the Park River west of town.

Volunteers also were working to fill 7,000 sandbags for standby use around the community, said Walsh County Emergency Manager Brent Nelson.

The Park River, which runs through the north end of the city on its way to the Red River, was just over 10 feet in the early evening Wednesday. The National Weather Service indicates it is likely to rise to 13 feet by Saturday. Flood stage is 12 feet, while major flood stage is 14.5 feet.

Meanwhile, crews were filling sandbags in Minto, N.D., where the Forest River hit flood stage of 6 feet Wednesday afternoon and was just past 7.5 feet Wednesday night. The weather service said the Forest River could reach moderate flood stage of 8.5 feet by Friday.

At 8.5 feet, the river would force the closing of U.S. Highway 81, which runs through the southern Walsh County town of 650.

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"Hopefully that will be short-lived, if it happens," Nelson said.

Minto School students were helping to fill sandbags Wednesday. About seven low-lying houses near the Forest River in south Minto likely will be sandbagged Thursday.

The Corps also plans to build a temporary dike along Main Street in Drayton, N.D., perhaps beginning by Thursday. The Corps and city signed the paperwork Wednesday, said Pembina County Emergency Manager Jill Pedersen.

Construction crews have started removing equipment from the new N.D. Highway 66 Bridge that crosses the Red River into Minnesota from Drayton.

The Red River at Drayton was at 28.15 feet at 7 p.m. Wednesday. It is expected to rise to moderate flood stage of 38 feet by Friday or Saturday and perhaps to major flood stage of about 42 feet by early next week.

The present Highway 66 bridge starts to take on water at about 37.7 feet and is closed at about that level. The highway is a vital link for employees going to the American Crystal Sugar Co. plant north of Drayton.

In Minnesota, overland flooding is affecting rural roads in most areas of western Norman and Polk counties.

Reach Bonham at (701) 780-1110; (800) 477-6572, ext. 110; or send e-mail to kbonham@gfherald.com .

Related Topics: 2010 FLOODSGRAFTONPOLK COUNTYRED RIVERWALSH COUNTY
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