WDAY: The News Leader

Published April 04, 2011, 08:33 AM

Lower forecast means less work than expected for flood protection

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - The forecast for the Red in Fargo has the city making some big changes: Fewer sandbags, fewer days to get dikes in place, basically less work than expected for full flood protection.

The new numbers has Fargo knocking down the level it'll build dikes to. It is great news for homeowners expecting the sandbags, instead of 3 million bags going out we're now talking about just more than 500 thousand.

The initial plan called sandbag dikes going to 4 feet. That number is now 41 feet, with capability to go to 42. That means homeowners who built their property up to 40 or 41 feet might not have to sandbag at all.

MARK BITTNER - Fargo Engineer: "Until we actually know for sure, we probably aren’t going to place those bags because they are good until almost 41 feet right now.”

Sandbag deployment will still start tomorrow at 7. Instead of the scheduled 4 days, it'll take a day and a half.

BRUCE GRUBB – Fargo: "Same areas that we had on the schedule but because of volume of bags, we'll do it in a much shorter time."

On Wednesday high school students will be called on to start placing sandbags. The plan is those students will work the morning and day shift, then the public and college students take over in the evening and protection to 41 feet should be in place by Friday.

The corps sponsored clay dikes that are going up this week are dropping in height as well. Instead of 44 feet those will be built to protect to 42 feet.

Fargo is halfway to having it's evacuation plans set, but there is some controversy among commissioners stopping it from being a done deal. Fargo is broken into 5 districts; each district is guided to a main artillery road and out of town, but who will make the final call to evacuate the city and what rules follow an evacuation?

Commissioners voted 3 to 2 to not adopt a plan proposed tonight. Some commissioners didn't agree with the language in the plan and the power given to one person in the event of an evacuation.

DAVE PIEPKORN - Fargo Commissioner: “If you add all these things up, it adds up to Marshal Law. Compelling people to leave the city, eliminating the ability to carry firearms, that's Marshal Law. That's ridiculous to have an incident commander be able to and he can do that and inform us later, that's outrageous.”

The Emergency Routes map will be on Fargo's website by tomorrow morning.

FirstLink is again coordinating volunteers. You can help by calling 476-4000. Moorhead is looking for volunteers to help stack sandbags. The volunteer center at MSUM will be open tomorrow morning at 8. Rural Clay County who need volunteers can call First Link for volunteers.