Second Red River crest expected in Fargo-Moorhead area this weekend

Cass County Highway 22 suffered major washout damage in the flooding. The highway is just west of Harwood and the main raod to the town of Prosper.  Photo courtesy of the Cass County Highway Department
Cass County Highway 22 suffered major washout damage in the flooding. The highway is just west of Harwood and the main raod to the town of Prosper. Photo courtesy of the Cass County Highway Department

FARGO — Fargo, as some branding says, will not only be "North of Normal" but also "far from normal" for a while longer.

Add to the list Moorhead and Cass County.

The "not normal" comes in the form of a second Red River crest expected this weekend, although it will be well below last Monday's crest of 35.13 feet.

The river has been falling since to a level of 29.85 feet on Monday afternoon, April 15, dropping it below major flood stage, which starts at 30 feet.

However, Meteorologist Greg Gust of the National Weather Service in Grand Forks said the river will likely rise to about 32 feet by Saturday because of the melt from last Thursday's blizzard that dumped about 9-12 inches in the area. He said releases from Lake Traverse along the South Dakota-Minnesota border are adding to the second crest.

The river could even go higher, maybe even by a foot, if heavy rain hits the area Tuesday through Thursday, Gust said. Currently, only about a quarter-inch to a half-inch of rain is expected.

Officials are urging residents to hold tight for another week as some roads and bridges will remain closed and sandbags should remain in place.

By next week, Cass County Engineer Jason Benson said some of the 166 miles of closed county roads could reopen. However, he warned that it could take up to a month or two to fix the more heavily damaged roads. He also doesn't know for sure if any bridges were damaged, but an assessment is under way.

On a positive note, some previously closed paved county roads have reopened.

In Moorhead, Governmental Affairs Director Lisa Bode said some of the bridges and roads will stay closed for "a week and possibly two weeks."

The main flooding problems, however, have been in northern Cass County, where the Sheyenne and Maple rivers caused major overland flooding. In general, the water was receding, but residents should remain vigilant. Benson hopes cleanup and sandbag collection can begin next week. Repairing the roads will begin as soon as possible, too, he said.

Township roads are also a problem. Benson will be working with township officials to determine if damages there could qualify for a disaster aid request made to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Meanwhile, across the river in Clay County, Sheriff Mark Empting said about 10 roads are closed because of the flood and many are reopening. He said most of the county missed that heavy snow in mid-March and that was a big factor in less overland and river flooding this spring.