WDAY: The News Leader

Published April 18, 2011, 09:04 AM

Davenport residents advised to prepare for the worst

Davenport, ND (WDAY TV) - The uncertainty of the Sheyenne River is leaving plenty of questions. Release levels at Baldhill Dam continue to fluctuate, almost daily, and people downstream are wondering how to prepare. Leaders in Davenport called out a county flood preparation team to help answer that question.

People in Davenport were advised to prepare for the worst flood they've seen. County leaders say it's going to be like 2009 maybe a little better, maybe a little worse.

Davenport Fire Chief Wayne Flom is showing us how Davenport gets attacked by overland flooding when water breaks the banks of the Sheyenne just south of Kindred.

The town is permanently protected, railroad tracks border the south, east and west sides, but Flom says it's not bullet proof, water could go over or even seep through. There's a 200 foot stretch of tracks that'll need to come out and replaced by a clay levee.

WAYNE FLOM - Davenport Fire Chief: “Every year is different and we just kind of not really wait and see, but have contingencies set in place so we can prepare for the worst.”

County Engineers told the crowd a major concern is how long the water will remain high.

KEITH BERNDT - Cass County Engineer: “If you are looking for advice from the county, mine would be don’t panic, but prepare or even if you figure out how long it would take you to construct your emergency measures that become necessary and then kind of watch conditions every day.”

Flom used to live outside of Davenports protective tracks, he battled the flood to save his home in '09 and says he feels for the people living in between Kindred and Davenport who will likely see the worst of this flood.

WAYNE FLOM - Davenport Fire Chief: “Though we do have people in rural communities, they all have the phone number for the fire hall here and we can get out there and sandbag and have the personnel to do that.”

Sheriff Laney told the crowd he will soon be moving a quick response team to Davenport, that way if the rural homes do take on water he'll have guys near by.

In addition to Davenport, Cass County officials are also keeping a close eye on points just south and north of the West Fargo Diversion. Here just south of Horace some overland flooding from the Sheyenne is already starting.

The Country Acres subdivision was heavily impacted by overland flooding back in 2009, and is an area of concern again this year. The rising Sheyenne also means that areas North of West Fargo will continue to see flooding. Over the next few days, the county wants to get the word out on this next round of flooding.

BONNIE JOHNSON - Cass County Administrator: “We've called it now the lull before the second storm. And so during this particular lull we've made a real priority to get to all of the neighborhoods north of West Fargo and make sure that everybody is doing okay. That they know that there may be second water coming.”

Johnson says each flood is different and all resident around the Sheyenne should be vigilant for overland flooding.