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28 June 2011

Flooding | An Update

So, since I know most of our family reads this, I decided to do a little update on the flooding situation up here in Minot. There's lots of information about what caused the flooding and how the city handled it. I'm not going to go into too much detail.

There are lots of pictures and information on KXNews' website and on their facebook page

But basically it's a combination of a cool summer last summer that didn't evaporate all the melted snow, with record levels of snowfall this winter, late, rapid snow melt, and record levels of rain this spring. All those combined in Canada and North Dakota to cause the Mouse/Souris River to flood. This river runs from Canada, into North Dakota, and then back up into Canada. Minot is situated between two 'hills' (North Hill and South Hill- so original!) and the river runs throughout the Valley. There are several dams along the river including the one just out of Minot, Lake Darling. All of the dams were over-taxed and full and required RECORD releases. Some miscalculations meant that they level of releases had to rise rapidly. The city worked to create dikes that were 20 feet tall, 30 feet wide at the base and 8 feet wide at the top to protect as much of the city as possible. For the most part, they were successful. However the LARGE volume of water still has flooded a good quarter of the town. I have not been to town myself, but I have heard something like 6000 homes have water in them, up to 1000 with water to the roof line. There are over 12,000 people evacuated. *However, people were notified early enough that most people emptied their houses of their belongings and there has been NO loss of life so far, Praise the LORD!

The water crested at 1561.82. The record level in Minot previously was from 1881 at 1558.

When a city floods, there are lots of complications. Basically the city has been cut in half with one small road open to get from the north to the south. The hospital, all grocery stores, and most clothing/supplies stores are in the south. They have set up a temporary hospital up North and are considering opening the base grocery store (which is 16 miles north of town) to the residents in the north. 

The river crested on Saturday at a lower level than they had originally anticipated, however, with that crest, they discovered that untreated surface water had made it into the water treatment facility. Base is on the city water, so all of town and base were put on a Boil Water order. Basically any water for consumption was to be boiled for 2 minutes before use. We were encouraged to conserve as well. Although this was slightly annoying, it was not much for us to deal with considering our home was still dry and we were safe. 

Sunday evening brought severe thunderstorms, hail, and tornado warnings across the counties adding more un-needed rain. 

Monday, several mains broke in town, a common occurrence after flooding, and the town lost all ability to provide water to the citizens. They have shut down all water in town. We have a reservoir on base that is filled by city water. Once it runs out, we will be out of all running water too. I have heard that despite severe conservation (no dishwashers, rare flushing, no laundry, very short showers/sponge baths for babies, etc) we can only expect for it to last about 5 days. So far there is no estimate on how long it will take to repair the water main breaks since they are under water. 

The projected receding timeline for the water is SEVERAL weeks, we are expected to be back at 1559 this week (which is still ABOVE the 1881 record level) and for it to take up to 3 weeks more for the River to be back in it's banks. FEMA has finally stepped in to offer assistance for those who are evacuated. We already were desperately short of housing in Minot due to the oil boom, so we are hoping they will be able to fill that void with some temporary housing. 

We are safe, our house is dry, the commissary is continually restocked with food and is upping it's water stock. Obviously, the biggest thing we are facing right now is if the water runs out. We choose not to buy a bunch of bottled water when the boil order started because boiling water is fairly simple. However, now we are having to find/pay for bottled water in case we run out completely. The commander on base has requested that any family members that can leave, do, to reduce stress on the water conservation. However Delta has taken advantage of the situation and is charging their holiday rates ($700-1200) instead of their normal rates ($400-700), which is making it difficult for people to leave. Since we only have one car, it's not an option for Jarvis and I to drive someone, because the hubby will still have to work.

Mostly, I ask for prayers, for the people who have lost their homes and will be in limbo for months. And for the water situation, that they find a way to provide safe, clean water to all of the residents in town and on base. For now, we are sticking around, conserving water, and praying. Love you all-



Bev said...

I've been thinking of you, and I'm so glad your family is doing alright! Boo on Delta, that should be illegal.

Mommy This and That said...

I implore you to contact Delta about this and if they do not make it the news, radio, etc.