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WDAY: The News Leader

Published April 12, 2011, 10:34 AM

Tense moments in Halstad as the Red River crests

While Halstad is dry today, they did have some tense moments over night. Water started seeping into the less protected North side of town. They were again moving train cars with a pay loader in Halstad today to make room for pumps. Last night they had to do the same thing to plug a leak here just on the north edge of town.

Halstad, Minn. (WDAY TV) - There is some good news from the Red River in Halstad. The National Weather Service says it should crest tonight at 40.6 feet. The record level in Halstad is 40.74 feet set in 1997.

In Halstad today, the water was up against the permanent levee around the city, but with 4 to 5 feet of freeboard, city officials are feeling pretty confident.

TOM MARONEY - FLOOD COORDINATOR: “Well we're thinking on the whole that we're going to be able to handle this flood. You know it's going to be a long one, very long because we're still going up. Fargo is going down, but I think we're going to be doing dike patrols for 2 to 3 more weeks.”

While Halstad is dry today, they did have some tense moments over night. Water started seeping into the less protected North side of town.

They were again moving train cars with a pay loader in Halstad today to make room for pumps. Last night they had to do the same thing to plug a leak here just on the north edge of town.

ROBIN STENE - Halstad Grain Elevator Manager: "When the train came a week ago to pull them out, there were still snow drifts under them so they couldn't move them. But there were two car lengths here so we moved, unhooked the cars and pulled them back to make this opening so we could get sandbags across.”

These cars have been sitting in Halstad for 4 years, now it will be a little longer.

ROBIN STENE - Halstad Grain Elevator Manager: “Now they'll have to wait until the water goes down because the track is underwater going north of town here.”

These railroad tracks are scheduled to be pulled up this year and that has some people in Halstad concerned because right now the only barrier between the river and the north side of town. And in 1997 there was nearly a bigger breach here.

ROBIN STENE - Halstad Grain Elevator Manager: “This area here there was a big vortex and the water was trying to force through and push out the culvert and we emptied out the restaurant in town and there were guys that left their breakfast plate sitting there and we all ran up here.”

A little small town ingenuity was put in play.

ROBIN STENE - Halstad Grain Elevator Manager: “So then we ended up taking some straw bales, cutting the twine off and throwing the sheaths in and when it got up against the pallet it sealed it.”

The remnants of the 97 fight are still here. So With a watchful eye, this city is staying dry in another flood. The permanent levee around all but the northeast corner of the city is at 44.5 feet.

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