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Published January 21, 2012, 05:14 PM

Water Rising Faster than Normal as Missouri River Freezes

Bismarck, ND (WDAY TV) -- It's not uncommon for the Missouri River to rise each winter when it freezes over. Although, this winter its rising faster than normal.

By: Kate Keller, Bismarck , WDAY

Bismarck, ND (WDAY TV) -- It's not uncommon for the Missouri River to rise each winter when it freezes over. Although, this winter its rising faster than normal.

After what happened this summer along the Missouri River, state and local leaders aren't taking any chances this winter.

"We are three to four and a half feet away from any homes being impacted, critical infrastructure being impacted. So, we really need to stay vigilant and watch this thing."

State and local agencies have been doing just that since the river started freezing in the last week. The Civil Air Patrol has been monitoring the situation from the sky and crews have been plugging culverts and putting pumps into place.

Wilz says it usually takes five to seven days for the river to freeze over. Last week, it took between 24 and 36 hours.

"This warm up, freeze up, warm up, freeze up action that we've seen has had an impact in creating the ice that has caused the conveyance to be restricted that we are seeing today," said Wilz.

Wilz says relief operations can be pulled together very quickly if the state needs to step in. Crews can dust the ice with a salt sand mixture to help it melt. They can also break jams up with back hoes and explosives, like they did in 2009.

Ice chunks are significantly smaller than 2009, so water is flowing better.

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