WDAY: The News Leader

Published December 15, 2010, 08:53 AM

Fergus Falls Homeowners Battle Flooding in December

Fergus Falls, Minn. (WDAY TV) - It's almost unthinkable: flood fighting in December! But a row of Fergus Falls residents already have to sandbag to fight back rising waters. Ice jams in the Otter Tail River have caused the river to rise more than a foot and a half overnight.

It was quite the sight to see: Water is sitting feet away from about 10 homes on the Otter Tail and all the way up to one home's foundation. One homeowner tells me, the river is at a level they've never seen before.

DOUG: "We may have Minnesota's largest hockey rink before the winters over."

An eerie dark sight on December 15th: Feet of water sits, surrounding homes along the Otter Tail River.

DOUG: "The river is at the highest I've ever seen it!"

For the first time ever here, sump pumps are working around the clock in the dead of winter.

"I didn't think I'd sandbag after I left Fargo."

In his 12 years in this house, Doug Seiler has never had to throw down 200 sandbags to protect his home.

"Essentially it filled this whole channel up."

To give you an idea of how quickly the water rose, if you can see that chair back there, it's about 2 feet tall. Last night it was at that chair. It was all the way at their doorstep."

DOUG: "I've never had a flood in December."

Just a few homes down, the same sheet of threatening, rising ice, all because of ice jams and debris about 3 blocks up stream.

DEAN: "Sounds like it's gotten pretty deep and they can't get any equipment in to really fight that."

This slowly rising water is going to make for an unsettling night for many.

DOUG: "I'm probably not going to sleep much."

DEAN: "I thought, you know, flood insurance! But it's too late already."

I talked to the Otter Tail County Sheriff and he says they're working with the D-N-R and the state right now to get the jam cleared as soon as possible, hoping the water won't rise any more overnight.