WDAY: The News Leader

Published April 11, 2011, 08:38 AM

VIEW FROM THE SKY: State leaders and FEMA representatives tour overland flooding in rural areas

(WDAY TV) - "Devastating". That's what Cass County, state leaders and people from FEMA are calling river and overland flooding in rural areas. For the first time, they're getting a look from the sky and what role does this aerial tour play in getting permanent flood protection?

This is not a lake were in the middle of right now. This is I-29, all 4-lanes submerged. You don't really get a sense about how bad this years flood really is until you are up in the air. After years of flood fighting, Cass County leaders say it's the worst they've seen.

After a short briefing it was time to hit the sky. We first headed south towards Oxbow. You can see how far the Red is swollen out of its banks.

REP. RICK BERG - (R) North Dakota: "20 miles on either side of Fargo, just all you can see is water and you can see it building up in each section, so it kind of rushes over to the next section.”

Berg, along with Robin Finegan from FEMA sits side-by-side surveying the massive amount of flooding North of Fargo near Harwood and Argusville.

DARRELL VANYO - Cass County Commissioner: "There's a lot of water north. It certainly supports what people are saying that it’s the worst ever."

Near Harwood this railroad worker normally plows snow in the winter off the tracks. Today, it just pushes water.

Darrell Vanyo: "People do know how to protect themselves, but they're experiencing levels they've never seen before."

Each mile flown is a selling point for local leaders on why they believe we need permanent flood protection in the Valley.

Rick Berg: "That's why it's great having Robin here because it really helps tell the story to the people in Washington."

Now that floodwaters have leveled off in the cities of Fargo-Moorhead, thousands, just a few miles north, are in the middle of another flood fight and it's one no one wants to lose.

ROBIN FINEGAN - FEMA Regional Administrator: "We are hand in hand with these communities and we are ready to take this on as best we can."

Cass County leaders expect the flood fight up here to last a couple of days and again if you are having any problems with water out here you are asked to call 298-2308 (Cass County). For Clay County the number is 299-7769.