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Red River towns wait for crest

Sandbagging continues as US residents watch rising water while ice jam floods homes in Canada

BY UPI | FARGO | April 8, 2011

Sandbagging was completed in Fargo, N.D., while across the Red River in Moorhead, Minn., officials said they hoped to complete their sandbag operation Friday.

The Red River is expected to crest at either 39 feet or 40 feet sometime Sunday.

Moorhead officials said high school students would be bused to neighborhoods needing assistance, the Grand Forks (N.D.) Herald reported.

Moorhead residents are building dikes to 42 feet to protect the city against the raging waters.

Rod Wiger, leader for Moorhead's Zone 6 flood-fighting zone, said progress in the dike-building operation could be traced in part to help provided by Otter Tail County inmates, as well as students from Moorhead and Fargo schools.

Fargo officials said at least a dozen school buses ferried hundreds of students to neighborhoods vulnerable to the flooding river, the Herald reported.

Fargo Mayor Dennis Walaker said city officials would decide on Friday whether some homeowners should add another foot to their dikes, depending on the crest forecast.

Meanwhile an ice jam on the Red River in western Canada sent its waters over the banks near Winnipeg, flooding at least one house Friday.

The jam threatened St. Andrews and St. Clements, rural communities northeast of Winnipeg, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported.

Emergency coordinator Darcy Hardman said workers struggled through the night to save the house in St. Andrews. At about 8 a.m., water spilled over a dike, and the house was lost.

In St. Clements, Mayor Steve Strang said emergency workers used 50-foot long tubes filled with water and known as tiger tubes to form temporary dikes.

In April 2009, the area was hit by a flash flood after a 10-foot-high ice jam formed in the river. Water and large blocks of ice smashed into riverside properties.

About 40 houses built on leased government land were bought out, but some residents who owned their own land remain in the area.

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