Sunday, March 29, 2009

Fargo/Moorhead Flood

Friday morning Jared and I drove to Moorhead to help our mother with the flood. She lives on a river lot turned to lake property. We left the Twin Cities at about 7:30 am and arrived in Moorhead just before noon. We helped a couple of neighbors add sand bags to their dikes and assessed the needs at mom's. The only volunteers in the neighborhood were fire fighters and national guard troops. Seeing national guard troops in full gear and Kevlar helmets driving by in a Hummer highlighted the gravity of the situation. A crest of 43 ft as predicted would not be something we could have withstood. The Red was at 40.8ft and rising. We assessed needs and watched what would happen next. Being offered a ham sandwich by disaster service workers also let me know this was an extraordinary event.

Our plan for Saturday was to add height to one part of the dike and to move essential items from the basement in case of a worst case collapse. With the help of several volunteer fire fighters from small towns around the state we made quick work of our levy reinforcement. We also checked back-up pumps and their frozen discharge hoses. I felt our main job was to anticipate problems and take steps to solve them before they became disasters. The swimming pool in the dike protected ring started to rise as hydraulic pressure forced ground water down and under the dike. This never caused more than a trickle. Another potential problem is a huge pump to pull storm sewer water out and pump it over and next to our dike. We feared vibrations and erosion would cause a collapse. After expressing our concerns the city decided to wait til Sunday when they could do the job properly.

Sunday we waited until the huge pump was placed. 40 fire fighters including 4 in the water with dry suits did what looks like a quality job. With the water dropping, pumps in place and the dike reinforced we felt good about heading home. Still 3 Coast Guard rescue helicopters flew over head as we were loading up the truck to return.

This picture would be titled "Hope"

1 comment:

Jared said...

Great pics Heath.