VALLEY CITY, N.D. - Mayor Mary Lee Nielson is asking for voluntary evacuation of about half of Valley City by 6 p.m. Wednesday.
During a press conference this morning, Nielson asked that all vulnerable populations - children, the elderly and those who are physically and mentally challenged - and anyone else living in the floodplain leave the evacuation area.
It's unknown how many people the evacuation will affect, but it covers about half the city, she said.
Only essential businesses should remain open, she said.
Police Chief Dean Ross asked that all nonessential travel in the city cease.
Sunday rain followed by warm temperatures has accelerated the snowmelt and is expected to result in greater inflows to Lake Ashtabula than the record levels that had previously been predicted, officials said.
A map of the floodplain will be available on the city's Web site at http://valleycity.govoffice.com.
Mercy Hospital is in the floodplain but will remain open on an outpatient and emergency basis. The hospital is protected by a clay ring dike.
Valley City State University officials planned to meet at 10 a.m. to determine their course of action. The university has already canceled classes for the rest of the week.