Flood damage rises in ND

Scores of residents in northeastern North Dakota are facing flood damage.

BY SUSAN KIM | BALTIMORE | March 31, 2004

Scores of residents in northeastern North Dakota are facing flood damage and more might be on the horizon.

Some 80 homes had minor or major flood damage in Grafton, N.D., with damage to 25 farms identified as well, said Tom Davis, a Church World Service Disaster Response and Recovery Liaison.

Another 30 homes were damaged in Mento, he said, and these numbers were expected to grow.

Floodwaters rose into basements and first levels of homes in several communities on Monday, when four inches of rain fell onto snow-covered fields that simply couldn't absorb the deluge.

The Salvation Army was responding in both communities to help meet emergency needs. A shelter was set up at the Grafton armory by the American Red Cross.

Water has yet to recede in some areas, and state emergency management dispatchers said damage tallies would likely grow.

This type of flooding heavy rain on snow-packed ground is not typical for North Dakota, in spite of what people may think, according to meteorologists.

Though no rain is forecast for the rest of the week, and the ground should start absorbing the water, emergency management officials are closely watching area rivers for ice jams.

The Pembina River has crested but the Tongue and Red rivers still are extremely prone to ice jams, according to reports from Pembina County emergency management. The town of Neche was sandbagging and on high flood alert.

Residents living around Devils Lake were also concerned, since forecasters believed the new rainfall could push the lake to record levels. Devils Lake has doubled in size and has risen at least 20 feet during the past 10 years.

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