FARGO - Floodwaters forced residents to flee to higher ground Thursday in Fargo, Moorhead and the surrounding area, as forecasters warned that the Red River could reach a record 43 feet by Saturday. In south Fargo, police, firefighters and National Guard members evacuated the Riverview Place senior living center and 35 to 40 homes in the River Vili subdivision after finding cracks in an earthen dike. In Moorhead, city officials released a statement just before 8 p.m.
A "massive effort" to fill and stack more than 1 million sandbags in backyards and atop earthen dikes before March 28 gets under way today as Fargo prepares for a major flood. Moorhead, too, is gearing up for the flood battle, and the city announced Thursday it will provide residents with sand and sandbags. The city is also helping to coordinate a volunteer center that will operate Saturday. Oakport Township north of Moorhead will provide residents with sand during a sandbagging push planned for the weekend.
Moorhead Mayor Mark Voxland declared a state of emergency Wednesday after the National Weather Service reaffirmed its prediction that the Red River will crest at 33 feet in Fargo-Moorhead. Residents were urged to take steps to protect their private property to 34 feet. City Manager Bruce Messelt said a handful of homeowners will need to sandbag or take other temporary measures if the river reaches 33 feet. The city didn't plan major sandbagging operations and had received no calls for assistance, he said.