You could hear it in their voices – dejection, resignation and anger. Late last week, the National Weather Service announced a second crest of the Red River of the North, with predictions of a 75 percent chance the Red would crest at 41 feet and a 25 percent chance it will hit 42.8 feet in the second half of April. Not good for a community that through hard work and personal and community sacrifice averted a major disaster by continuing to sandbag, dike and fight an epic flood while not caving to a suggested mandatory evacuation of the community.
But this community/region is nothing if not resilient, tough and plain old stubborn. As people get back to work in the city (with commerce being shut down for roughly two weeks), they drive past and around semis continuing to dump clay to build and bolster dikes to hold back a projected second crest that could surge higher than the previous high-water mark. Led by an unflappable Mayor, flanked by a trauma physician Deputy Mayor, and supported by a community that cares about where they live, they seem to have put behind them the despair and with a new week comes new vigor and resolve to overcome this new threat.
This can-do approach and community drive is repeated in communities (Valley City, Olso, Drayton) up and down the valley as they confront record flooding. Starting with record fall rains, an early and deep freeze (prompting fast runoff) and heavy winter snows these communities and this region continue to see record high water levels and the threat of flooding. There have been losses – hundreds of homes reporting flood damage in Cass and Clay counties – and there may be more, but not without a fight.