Sponsored By
An organization or individual has paid for the creation of this work but did not approve or review it.



Rain sets records, causes flooding

The heavy rain Monday that hit Breckenridge, Minn., across the Red River from Wahpeton, N.D., will force officials to get creative if they are going to pull off the Wilkin County Fair that starts at noon Thursday.

The heavy rain Monday that hit Breckenridge, Minn., across the Red River from Wahpeton, N.D., will force officials to get creative if they are going to pull off the Wilkin County Fair that starts at noon Thursday.

In Wahpeton, where even more rain was reported, streets, homes and businesses flooded. Downstream along the Red, the airports in Grand Forks and Fargo set rainfall records for the day as a slow-moving rain system moved across eastern North Dakota and northwestern Minnesota from Sunday night to Tuesday morning.

More rain is expected Thursday and Friday, but nothing like this last event, said Bill Barrett, meteorologist with the National Weather Service's Grand Forks office west of UND. Otherwise, the weather should be warm and mostly dry, especially into the weekend, he said.

But the experts didn't exactly portray this rain event to be as big a deluge as it turned out to be; the forecast was that local rainfall totals for the storm beginning Sunday night could be more than 1 to 2 inches.

Well, it was that and then some, as local rainfall amounts hit 3 to 7 inches across the region.


More records

Record rain for Aug. 11 was recorded at the airports in Grand Forks -- 1.64 inches -- and Fargo -- 3.33 inches.

The previous records were 0.89 at the Grand Forks airport in 1999 and 2.1 inches at the Fargo airport in 1963. Hector International Airport in Fargo received a total of 3.49 inches during the whole rain event. The Grand Forks airport received 1.8 inches of rain during the entire event.

The widespread rain shut down for at least several days a grain harvest already behind schedule because of a late spring planting. But corn, beans, sugar beets and potatoes could benefit a lot from the rain.

Vernon Woytassek, emergency manager for Wilkin County, said he heard rainfall amounts of as much as 5.7 inches across the county. There were reports of more than 7 inches falling on Wahpeton.

"There's zero chance" the Wilkin County Fair will be "ready to go the way it should be," Woytassek said.

"City workers are working around the clock, pumping, hoping to be able to get it into good enough shape that we can at least hold the fair." Some of the carnival rides may not be able to be set up, he said. Higher ground might be found, too, he said. The fairgrounds are right next to the Red River on the east side of the city.

"It depends on how much water they get off of there, and also, what the clouds do," Woytassek said.


But Breckenridge had no flooding of streets or homes, he said. Meanwhile, across the Red River, rainwater rose to 18 inches or more on Wahpeton streets, flooding some basements.

"The storm sewers didn't have the capacity for the amount of storm water we received," Wahpeton City Engineer Randy Nelson told the local newspaper.


The city's fire trucks were used to block roads to keep sightseers from creating waves making the flooding worse or creating stalled vehicles in the water.

The weather service said Breckenridge's reporting station got 4.56 inches of rain from Sunday night until Tuesday morning. Nearly all of the rain in Breckenridge fell between 8 a.m. Monday and 8 a.m. Tuesday, when 4.3 inches fell, which is the third-most rainfall in any 24-hour period in the city of about 3,400. The record for one day of rain in Breckenridge is 4.73 inches June 3, 2007, according to the weather service.

Brian Lamprecht, emergency manager for Richland County, based in Wahpeton, said his rain gauge held 7.25 inches of rain after the event. The weather service doesn't have its previous official reporting site in Wahpeton, Barrett said. Automated gauges in Wahpeton registered 3.92 inches, and an official reporter nine miles west of Wahpeton recorded 3.35 inches for the total storm event.

In Breckenridge, "the storm sewers did a good job," Woytassek said. "Apparently, our infrastructure in Breckenridge is designed to handle more water."

There was a little flooding in the streets, and the golf course has pools of water, he said.


Reach Lee at (701) 780-1237; (800) 477-6572, ext. 237; or send e-mail to slee@gfherald.com .

What To Read Next
Get Local