Flooding From Above: Capturing the Red River at 1,600 Feet
More than 160 miles of roads are affected by water in Cass County
RED RIVER VALLEY — Seeing this year’s flooding at the ground level only provides a snapshot compared to the portrait you’ll see at 1,600 feet in the air.
“There are many roads that are washed out that are very dangerous and a lot of bridges that are under threat because of water that’s passing through,” Civil Air Patrol Chief Pilot Chad Smith said.
Smith is a chief pilot for the Civil Air Patrol, a branch of the North Dakota Department of Emergency Services.
He and other pilots with the patrol are assisting in this year’s flood fight by helping photographers get an entire view of the Red River Valley.
“We’ll provide those pictures to the state EOC so they can use those pictures as they see fit to center their flood fights around those areas,” Smith said.
He’s now showing me the rural areas with the most overland flooding along the Red River including Argusville, Gardner, Georgetown, Perley and Halstad.
While Cass County engineers say the water has been receding, a second crest is coming at the end of the week once the snow from last week’s storm melts. In Fargo–Moorhead, the water is expected to peak at 32 feet.
“With the inflows from the rain and the snow melt off, from the overland flooding standpoint, we expect that overland issue should continue to go down,” said Jason Benson, Cass County Engineer.
But even as some of that water disappears, it’s leaving some of the roads washed out and county engineers with a warning.
“If you’re driving on either our county gravel roads or the township gravel roads in rural areas, if you haven’t driven in those areas since the flooding started, be very cautious,” Benson said. “You just don’t know, if you come over a hill or around a corner and all of a sudden the road is washed out, you need to be prepared.”
Cass County closed its tactical operations center Saturday because of a decrease in calls. The flood hotline is still open for those needing assistance at 701-241-8000.