WDAY: The News Leader

Published June 20, 2011, 10:13 PM

Minot flooding reaches unprecedented levels

Minot, ND (KXMC TV) - 'A sad day for Minot...' That is how Mayor Curt Zimbelman closed an evening press conference tonight where he delivered the devastating news to thousands in Minot that flood waters would overtake their homes and businesses. And it won't just flood in a minor way -- it will dwarf the historic flood of 1969. '69 measured 1555.4 -- 2011 is projected to reach 1563.

By: Perry Olson, KXMC

It is not a question of 'if' anymore...Minot will flood. It will be displace thousands, shut down the heart of the city for weeks, and inundate thousands of homes in a way never seen before.

"We could have a really catostrophic type of event here. We will -- there is no doubt about it anymore. I think people have to understand if you were on the edge before you may not be on the edge now."

The mayor was speaking to those who will be evacuated. All evacuated about three weeks ago WILL BE again -- and must be out by Wednesday night at 10 -- but for those on the outskirts of this map -- they too should make plans to evacuate. There is no way to guarantee that the Mighty Mouse won't reach your home...

"We are currently looking at inundation maps and profiles to see if we have to enlarge these evacuation zones."

Expect to hear more on that Tuesday...but the news to hear today -- and let sink this...

"We are going to become a pool or a lake. It is hard to accept and believe but I have some real concerns..."

Concerns that will become reality. Flows of 17 thousand CFS -- more than three times the record amount before this year -- from the Lake Darling Dam on Wednesday will reach Minot sometime Thursday or Friday -- and the emergency levee system will be topped.

"All bridges in the city will be closed at these levels except Broadway Bridge. We will keep that open."

Secondary dike work will hopefully keep it open as a major north-south route -- along with the west bypass. More Infrastructure news -- the water system in Minot will be put to the test. Alan Walter spoke to the need for conservation over the entire duration of this flood...

"You need to think about what you are doing when you are taking your showers and baths and washing clothes and all that stuff."

The city will be down to one aquifer -- Walter says it can do the job, but conservation is a must.

The news is endless -- but what citizens of Minot need to know is this. The battle to keep flood waters in the banks of the riverbed WILL FAIL. Water will spill over and flood Minot in a way never before seen by anyone alive today. This flood will last for at least two weeks before the water may start to go down at all. This will be long, it will be devastating, it will change thousands of lives. An example of just how high the Mouse will rise comes from Shaun Sipma's story from Sunday. This marker indicates the level of the '69 flood just east of Oak Park. We'll match this -- and COVER IT will an additional seven feet of water.