Friday, March 27, 2009

Red River Flooding

Earlier today my friend Jenn, touched by the Red River Valley flooding news stories, decided she needed to do something to help. A couple of years ago she helped to clean-up flooding in Southern Minnesota and witnessed first-hand the destruction floods can cause. So when she read about the Red River Valley flood, she was determined to help in the prevention efforts before the flood causes unnecessary damage.

She contacted the volunteer line, coordinated a group to go with her, wrapped up her work as quickly as possible, printed driving directions and is headed to Fargo as I type this. It is truly amazing how touched she was and motivated to help.

Honestly, I have heard about people like her. The people who are motivated to help and make a difference, but I'm not sure I've known anyone to do this before. She doesn't have any ties to Fargo, no family or back stories. She just read the news articles and figured it was close enough to us that she could make an impact. (Fargo is 4 hours away).

It was remarkable to see the passion and determination in her eyes. But even more so, was the fact that she wanted to drop everything to help. Jenn's great like that. Inspirational.

Almost every spring it seems the Red River runs the risk of flooding. But this year is the worst so far - we had a very cold winter, lots of snow and last week had very warm weather followed by rain. The melting snow and rain had no where to go, because the grounds is still frozen. Plus, the Red River runs north, which is unusual; as the snow melts, the run-off and ice chunks flow toward waters that may still be frozen.

This year the river is expected to crest at 43' by Saturday evening; the main dike protecting the city is also 43'. As of 2:15p, the river has swelled to 40.69 feet -- more than 22 feet above flood stage and inches more than the previous high water mark of 40.1 feet set in 1897.

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