WDAY: The News Leader

Published January 24, 2011, 08:19 AM

2011 Flood: Request for more buyouts, sandbags at the first official flood meeting of the year

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - With the latest flood forecast calling for another spring flood, Fargo city leaders are preparing for the worst, a river that will hit 42 feet or higher. To protect the city at that level, it will take nearly 3 million sandbags.

In the first official flood meeting of the year, city engineers are asking commissioners to approve the buyout of at least 10 more homes before this years flood.

"If we want 500 year protection, we've got to do all of this."

Engineers say it'll ease this year’s flood fight, but some of the commissioners questioned the need to buy out the homes now. Since 2009, Fargo and Cass County have combined to buyout more than 130 homes.

"If we had the same flood we had last year and we buy a lot of houses and do a lot of permanent protection and water only goes to 37, then you feel kind of bad because then you've taken some people out of their houses."

The buyouts would save the city more than a quarter million sandbags. Fargo has 370 thousand in storage right now. To protect to 44 feet, the city will need to get to 3 million sandbags.

"On a 10-percent chance of going to 42, we'd go to 44. So everything we do is based on going to 44, but until we obviously got to those levels, we plan on being lower; hopefully we'll be lower than that."

The city will need volunteers for sandbagging starting in mid February. Around that same time, Fargo will hold neighborhood meetings with homeowners who live in vulnerable areas.