Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Flood Fighting Volunteers

It's 1997 all over again in the Red River Valley. The Valley, especially the "twin cities" of Fargo, ND and Moorhead, MN, are especially vulnerable to the rising Red River because:

1) the ground was already saturated from heavy fall rains, followed by,
2) heavy winter snow fall, which is only about half melted,
3) 2 days of record rainfall, and
4) an impending blizzard.

(By the way, this is my unofficial understanding of the flooding situation. For a more scientific understanding, check out the Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service.)

Not good at all. From what I'm reading, the cities are doing a good job of mobilizing volunteers to both make sandbag - some 3 million of them - and building protective ring dikes around peoples' homes. Most of the local colleges and high schools have canceled classes so that students and faculty can volunteer. Some 20,000 volunteers came out yesterday, with an additional 10,000 needed today. For an area of about 150,000 people, the local voluntary spirit is high - - and as we did in 1997 (I spent a good part of that last semester of high school sandbagging) the community will put up a good fight, and I hope that most homes will be saved. There is really no better example of what a community can do to help their neighbors in a time of crisis.

Check out photos by my cousin Dave Arntson (er, third cousin once removed, maybe?).

As I sit at my desk this Tuesday morning looking at a framed photo of the iconic Fargo Theatre, I actually miss home and wish I was there to help. Much love!

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