WDAY: The News Leader

Published August 23, 2010, 08:22 AM

City leaders get an early start on flood preparations as the NWS forecasts a wet fall

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - The National Weather Service has released its three month forecast outlook. It says there's a good chance we'll see a lot of rain this fall, but mainly in the northern part of the Valley. Here in Fargo, city leaders are already preparing for what that could mean for spring flooding.

Fargo has spent about 14 million dollars in the past year, building dikes and buying out homes. That money comes from 25 million dollars worth of borrowed bonds. There's still a lot more to be done and some engineers say this latest forecast doesn't help them out.

Another dreary, drizzly day and it sounds like more on the way. Bad news for engineers trying to build up flood protection projects in the area.

“Well it's going to be difficult to build levees when it's been so wet. So and that gets more difficult as it gets colder. So it's going to be a struggle to get as many done as we want to get done.”

The city has about 9 million dollars to spend this year. On the to-do list: more buyouts, flood walls and levees. This one along 25th Street in Rose Creek is one of the many that still has to be finished. Between planning for the diversion and other everyday projects, city engineer Mark Bittner says progress is slower than he'd like.

“Trying to get staff time to do all that, and we've retained engineers to assist us, but you can only do so many meetings a night.”

The city doesn't have to spend money on some of its prep plans. 250,000 filled sandbags are stored and on standby, 3 million empty bags are waiting nearby.

“We've learned over the last, especially the last year, it's more beneficial to be pro-active than reactive, when it comes to this flooding. And we're just going to be ready.”

The money the city is using to pay for all of these projects have to be paid off in five years. That balance will be paid from sales tax.