WDAY: The News Leader

Published January 17, 2011, 09:08 AM

2011 Flood: Local, State leaders prepare for the worst

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - You may not want to hear it, or even think about it yet, but the reality is Fargo is preparing for another serious flood fight. Tomorrow, Fargo and Cass County will declare a flood emergency.

This comes after reports from the weather service continue to worsen on the likelihood of a major spring flood. A meeting was held today for Senator John Hoeven and Representative Rick Berg. Local leaders briefed the congressmen on what's being done here to prepare for a possible 3rd straight major flood.

SEN. JOHN HOEVEN(R) North Dakota: “Making sure that both Rick and myself and I know Senator Conrad, that we're doing the things to plan and prepare as well with you obviously you lead this charge but we want to make sure we're doing all we can to help.”

Local leaders are bracing for the weather service's new flood prediction. It comes out tomorrow and is expected to be ugly.

The last one showed a 10 percent chance we'd repeat last years flood numbers. Leaders hear the new numbers are much worse.

Leaders say this early preparation, declaring a flood emergency in January, is all about being more and more prepared for the worst. In 2009 the city had only 9 days to prepare, Mayor Walaker called that time horrific.

MAYOR DENNIS WALAKERFargo: “I know you want to deal with the flood of 2011. There are some of us who'd like to put that off, we don't want three in a row, but I guess we have to."

Since 2009 the city and county have been preparing to make for smoother flood fights. In that time, more than 130 homes have been bought out in Fargo and Cass County. Because of all the flood projects Fargo needs 670 thousand fewer sandbags to protect to 43 feet.

To help this year, leaders are looking for a declaration of emergency from the state and federal government.

PAT ZAVORALCity Administrator: “So that any of the efforts that we got to put forth going forward, we can seek reimbursement for the local cost."

Hoeven says he and Berg are in town to keep local, state and federal agencies all on the same page. And though both of them are the new guys in Washington, neither of them is new to metro flooding; Hoeven as governor and Berg being from Fargo.

REP. RICK BERG(R) North Dakota: "I've filled sandbags with a lot of you. I’ve carried sandbags, I’ve stacked them and the worst thing in the world is I’ve taken them off the stack and piled them up and of course witnessed the challenges we've had here in the valley."

In February, The city will hold neighborhood meetings with people from areas prone to flooding in Fargo. On January 31st, FEMA representatives will be at the Fargo library to talk to people about the importance flood insurance.