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Published June 21, 2013, 09:54 AM

Valley City residents cleaning up after deluge; 'major mess' at Valley City State

VALLEY CITY, N.D. – Residents here are cleaning out the muck after a deluge dropped upwards of 6 inches here late Thursday night, and more hail and rain is expected here tonight and Saturday night.

By: Erik Burgess, Forum News Service, INFORUM, Forum News Service

VALLEY CITY, N.D. – Residents here are cleaning out the muck after a deluge dropped upwards of 6 inches here late Thursday night, and more hail and rain is expected here tonight and Saturday night.

The storm knocked out one of the city's lift stations, Mayor Bob Werkhoven said. It was still out this morning, forcing the city instituted sanitary water restrictions. Residents were asked not to use their showers or toilets until 11 a.m.

Valley City and Barnes County both declared states of emergencies.

Many streets here are still filled with debris and mud, and mosquitos are out en masse following the storm, which included high winds and hail.

“Some was pea-sized and some was like a tennis ball,” Lori Berg said, describing the hail that damaged some of her windows Thursday night.

Berg, 56, was out cleaning her driveway this morning, attempting to dry out her home before she opened up her day care. Thursday night, the street in front of her home here was a pool, filling up all the way to her chain link fence.

“The whole driveway was gone and the boulevard,” Berg said, swatting at mosquitos. “All I could see was water coming up.”

“It was like a lake back there,” she said, pointing down the alley to a nearby home.

Between 4.3 and 6.2 inches of rain was reported late last night here and in surrounding Barnes County. Tom Grafenauer, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, said those totals are still preliminary.

Crews at what’s known locally as “The Bubble” – Valley City State University’s Osmon Fieldhouse – have been working since 7 a.m. sucking out 7 inches of water that flooded the complex’s basement.

Patrick Horner, assistant director of facilities for the university, said when he left the building at 1:30 this morning, five pumps were working to remove the water. Carpeted locker room areas are soaked and probably beyond repair, Horner said. Wood paneling in the fieldhouse weight room, also in the basement, are likely destroyed, too.

“It was a major, major mess last night,” Horner said.

A thin layer of dirt and water remained on the floors this morning as a dozen university employees worked in knee-high rubber boots to clean the basement.

“We’re not sure whether this is sewer silt or just dirt silt,” Horner said “but we’re treating it as sewer back-up.”

Rainwater also piled on too quickly on the roof of the complex Thursday night, rushing through roof vents and ceiling tiles, flooding a classroom on the first floor with about an inch of water, Horner said.

“It was a gummy, gooey mess,” he said, pointing to the destroyed ceiling tiles that were pulverized by the rushing water.

He said rain also swept into open construction areas at the campus’s science building, which just received a new addition as the older portion of the building was being remodeled.

He had no estimate on total damages to the campus, but said it would be “a fair amount.”

Grafenauer said the weather service is forecasting “two more rounds” of rain, high winds and hail tonight and Saturday night in the same general area where it fell Thursday night - southeastern North Dakota and west-central Minnesota.

“The threat for severe and heavy rain, thunderstorms should remain through the weekend,” he said.

Today and Saturday throughout the day should be sunny and dry, he said, with the chances of rain and storms coming in the evening hours.

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