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North Dakota ramps up flood protection measures


Staff writers
April 24, 2013 — The flood protection plan is well underway in Fargo, North Dakota with the Red River expected to hit major flood stage by Sunday.


Crews handing out sandbags in Fargo
Crews handing out sandbags in Fargo

Crews in North Dakota have started operations to protect communities near the Red River from flooding. 

In Fargo, sandbags are being handed out and temporary dikes have been constructed.

Over the next several days, police will also be escorting more than 500-semi trucks into town, where they'll be taking pallets of sandbags into flood soaked areas. 

Officials say drivers should give these trucks the right-of-way and those who don't could face fines. 

According to the National Weather Service, the Red River may hit the major flood stage of 30 feet on Sunday. It's expected to rise to around 32 feet by Monday. 

Forecasters say April 2013 is currently ranked as the fourth snowiest April of all time for the Fargo-Moorhead area, with more than a week to go in the month. 

A sustained warm-up could speed up the snowmelt, resulting in significant flooding across the region.  

Red River drainage basin
Red River drainage basin

Based on the recent, heavy snowfall and weather conditions in North Dakota, the Manitoba government upgraded the potential flood risk in the Red River Valley last week.

"The current unfavourable scenario, and I stress that there's always a range that our forecasts look at, indicates that we could be looking at levels in the Red River Valley outside of Winnipeg of up to one foot higher than 2009," said Emergency Measures Minister, Steve Ashton.

That means some isolated communities may have to be evacuated.

Officials say Highway 75, the main link between Winnipeg and the United States, may be closed as well, although no communities are expected to lose road access completely.

With files from CNN

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