Rising water could strand residents of Oslo, Minnesota

WDAY photo
WDAY photo

OSLO, Minn. — Major flooding could turn the city of Oslo into a virtual island as cresting on the Red River continues to move north.

There are two paved routes in and out of the city and one has already closed. Highway 54 closed on the North Dakota side of the Red river Wednesday night, and Minnesota Highway 1 could soon follow.

It isn't the first time Oslo has been cut off. In 2009 and 2011, severe flooding on the Red River left residents of the town stranded for weeks.

In both of those years, the river reached a crest higher than 38 feet, and the National Weather Service predicts the Red will crest at 38 feet by 10 a.m. Saturday.

On Thursday, April 11, the Red River had already reached 37.5 feet.

“This isn't our first rodeo,” said Oslo resident Barbara Quern. "We might be stuck here for a few weeks. And so that's one thing that we prepare for."

"You better decide if you're going to leave or not,” said Marshall County Sheriff Jason Boman. “Because it's very possible the road could be closed."

Supplies poured into the town Thursday. The Salvation Army brought food and water to the city's community center, which will serve as a base of operations for emergency responders.

"There will always be somebody manning the phone here. We'll try to do it 24/7," Boman said.

The levy system should protect homes, but the biggest inconvenience for many people in town will be getting to work. Many in Oslo make a daily 30 minute commute to Grand Forks.

The rising Red could strand Barbara Quern and 300 other residents for a few weeks, but for now she's grateful the river hasn't spilled into their community.

"I just look at it and I’m just glad it's in the bank,” she said.