Oct 17, 2019

Flooding in North Dakota County Prompts Disaster Emergency

Record flooding in October has left the Grand Forks County Commission in North Dakota with no choice but to declare a disaster emergency. 

Record flooding in October has left the Grand Forks County Commission in North Dakota with no choice but to declare a disaster emergency. 

The Grand Forks County Commission has declared a disaster emergency in the wake of North Dakota's flooding due to heavy rains in late September, as well as the county’s recent blizzard

The disaster emergency declaration allows the county to access money in its emergency fund, which has about $1 million, according to Grand Forks Herald. The emergency declaration will continue for one month then must be revisited by the commission.

The declaration motion, which passed unanimously, will allow the county water board to be reimbursed for expenses related to protecting homes in the county from flood damage. These expenses range from renting large pumps and a backhoe to widen ditches to accommodate extra water.

As of Oct. 16, the Red River was at 40.94 ft, which, according to the National Weather Service, is a record for October. Minor flood stage for the Red River at Grand Forks is 28 ft, and moderate flooding begins at 40 ft. The city's flood control system protects Grand Forks up to 60 ft.

Reports of flooded basements poured in after Blizzard Adam dumped 7 in. of snow in Grand Forks. Paired with wind speeds between 40 to 60 mph, the heavy snowfall created zero visibility and closed highways.  

“I’ve been here for 10 years, and I’ve never seen anything like this. The predictions just kept changing and the river came up a lot faster than we thought,” said Catherine Johnson, East Grand Forks Park manager to the Grand Forks Herald

A press release said the sanitary stations were pumping 23-25 mgd over the weekend. The pumps usually only handle around 8 mgd. The county asked residents to make sure sump pumps are pumping outside and not into a drain inside homes because the sanitary pump station is at capacity, reported the Grand Forks Herald

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