Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Flood Watch 2007

Neche, N.D. city manager Philip Renwick checks the pumps in low areas in the city Tuesday. An earthern dike protects the city from overland flooding and the Pembina River. Renwick said he has more problems getting the water out of the city than water coming into the city this year. Grand Forks Herald photo by Jackie Lorentz

River on the way down in Neche
Herald Staff ReportPublished Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Water levels are looking better today in Neche, N.D., Becky Ault, Pembina County emergency manager said.

"Although it is raining, we're still feeling a little better about things," Ault said.
The Pembina River in Neche rose to about 19.5 feet Tuesday, more than a foot higher than minor flooding stage. Today, the river has gone down about a foot with further declines projected.

Ault said officials still are monitoring ice chunks floating down the river for possible jams that could cause flooding. "That will be ongoing for awhile," she said.
County employees will finish shoring up the city's dike near Highway 18 today, Ault said.

The long wait
Published Wednesday, March 28, 2007-Grand Forks Herald

NECHE, N.D. The highway south of here had a much calmer appearance Tuesday than it did a year ago, but still, the town readied for water to hit.

Last year, travelers encountered a wall of water as they headed north along state Highway 18 toward this small town located near the U.S.-Canadian border in northern Pembina County. The town was an island surrounded by a swollen Pembina River to the north and east and by the river's excess water at the south and west.

Tuesday, there was no overland flooding, and access to the city was not compromised, but city officials were on alert as ice chunks floated down the river. If ice jams occur, water could once again spill across Neche.

Pembina County officials met and declared a countywide state of emergency Tuesday afternoon. Neche declared a state of emergency Monday, readying for water that might damage homes and city buildings or that might not breach the dike at all.

"We're being proactive to assure that we're ready for whatever Mother Nature throws at us," said Becky Ault, Pembina County emergency manager. The declaration can open up funds to use for any repairs needed because of flooding, she said.

Sandbags are ready for use in Neche, and county public works employees were shoring up about 300 feet of the city's dike near Highway 18. Sandbags also were being prepared for Leroy, N.D., a town about 15 miles west of Neche.

The Pembina River in Neche has risen to about 19.5 feet, more than a foot higher than minor flooding stage, according to Mark Newell, Neche City Council member.


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