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WDAY: The News Leader

Published April 07, 2011, 10:45 AM

Red River holding steady in Wahpeton-Breckenridge

Wahpeton, ND (WDAY TV) - People in Wahpeton - Breckenridge are breathing a sigh of relief as the Red River crest isn't causing much concern. But with a lot of water south and a second crest looming later this month, city leaders aren't just sitting idle.

By: Travis Skonseng, WDAY

The Red River here in the Twin Towns is holding steady tonight, as you can see by the ruler. It shows the Red at about 15.7 feet. People here remain cautiously optimistic.

Homeowner John Viebrock looks around his Breckenridge backyard. He's happy the crest has come.

JOHN VIEBROCK – Homeowner: “We really didn't get a sudden fast crest which is not a lot of fun you know living in this town.”

But by no means is it gone. If the Red River goes much higher in the days ahead, crews may have to build a levee on his property. The posts show where it might go.

“If they have to do it, they have to do it.”

“There are a lot of scenarios, but at this point very comfortable. It's a good fight.”

Breckenridge has built up most of its permanent levees to 22.5 feet, but there are still low spots. In Wahpeton, crews are monitoring a second crest.

“There's a little anxiety.”

The city may need to add clay to only one mile of levee, near the golf course.

“The volume of water moving through town right now is impressive.”

Plenty of sandbags are ready to go. In fact, Wahpeton only has one spot near the Kidder Recreational Area with sandbags. The city has three thousand on hand, Breckenridge 15 thousand.

“We continue to be vigilant. The longer the water stays at that elevated level, the more propensity there is for something to go wrong.”

“Unless we get one deluge of rain, which would be four to five inches covering the whole area, that would give me concern.”

Homeowners like Viebrock are holding out hope for the best, but of course, preparing for the worst. Like years past.

“Yeah we've been fortunate.”

Police are patrolling these bridges every hour, looking for any jams. If the Red goes to 16 feet, volunteer firefighters would team up to patrol dikes. Crews may start positioning equipment just to be safe.

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