WDAY: The News Leader

Published April 04, 2011, 10:11 AM

Wahpeton-Breckenridge prepared for crest forecast

Breckenridge, Minn. (WDAY TV) - The first spot that will see a crest on the Red River is Wahpeton-Breckenridge. The Red there is at 13.73 feet It should go to 15.5 Thursday. Reporter Rob Kupec takes a look at how the two cities are preparing.

Here in Wahpeton and Breckenridge they're feeling pretty good about the forecast of a crest on the river around 15 feet

In Brecekenridge, a dike has been place across Main Street, which floods at a river level of 13 feet. If the river does top the 15 foot mark water will flood the Wilkin County fairgrounds which has happened the last two year. But really there are not many problems with a 15 and a half foot crest in Breckenridge and there are even some signs the Otter Tail is dropping east of the city.

CLIFF BARTH - Mayor Breckenridge: “Everything is really good for us down here and I think that also helps Fargo because it's getting out of here and it's making its way through to Fargo, so hopefully a lot of that goes through before the rest of it melts to the west of Fargo.”

West of Wahpeton, overland flooding it reducing east bound traffic on Route 13 to one lane, but in the city itself things are quiet.

A backhoe stands at the ready if a levee needs to be placed across Dakota Ave, something that happens when the river rises to 18 feet. At that level the train bridge in town would also have to be diked and the tracks would be torn up to put it in place, something that happened in 2009.

The city will monitor the levees especially here at the golf course where permanent flood protection is not finished. Wahpeton is optimistic on the flood out look.

DARCIE HUWE - Wahpeton Finance Director: “We've been calling it river crest, even though a flood technically by the USGS terms we're at flood stage at 10 feet. We're calling it spring river crest. We're not calling it flood because hopefully it stays inbounds in the designated channel.”

And while the river is expected to drop after the crest later this week, both cities will have to be on guard for future rises in the river depending on releases from dams upstream.

Here's a look at some of the other River levels around the area: The Buffalo River at Sabin is at 16.12 feet. It's likely to rise to 17.5 Wednesday.

In Dilworth, it's at 22.32 feet and should hit 24.5 Friday. Both are below major flood stage.

The Wild Rice at Abercrombie is now above major flood stage. It's at 22.74 feet and should hit 26.5 Thursday.