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Fargo Mayor declares emergency ahead of spring flood

D. Webster

The Mayor of Fargo has declared an emergency ahead of this spring's flood fight.

Mayor Tim Mahoney says the city is in danger of suffering a significant flood threat this year. The emergency declaration authorizes local, state and federal agencies to take action to limit impacts of the pending flood on the citizens of Fargo. Mahoney says he's asking his City staff to prepare for the National Weather Service's current 10 percent probabilistic forecast of a 40.3 foot river crest. The 2009 Red River crest was 40.84 feet.  Mahoney says the City will once again be calling upon volunteers to help fill sandbags... and he says "evacuation is not an option."

"While we've made tremendous strides in our permanent flood protection effort, this is a very serious flood forecast and we'll meet it with a serious response. It is critically important for everybody to know we will need the public's assistance - we cannot be complacent. Once again we need to see the spirit of Fargo across our volunteer efforts. Working together, we are all committed to successfully protecting the Fargo metro."

Mahoney says Sandbag Central will be open next week Tuesday, March 26 and will run for 12 hour shifts until the goal of one million sandbags is reached. FirstLink will be coordinating the volunteer effort. Mahoney says he thinks volunteers may be able to fill a hundred thousand sandbags per day, if about 200 volunteers can be working every hour. More information on volunteer signup efforts will come later this week.

Mahoney says while this year's flood fight will be dangerous and significant - there are a couple advantages this time around.

"The advantage that we have, in talking at our meeting this morning, is that about 90 percent of them have been through the 2009 flood - so we bring that experience to the table. We are basically going to revise our plans as far as planning flood fights from here forward. Nathan would tell you we've done a lot of in town work throughout the city, so we don't need 6.5 million sandbags, we only need a million, but there's still some measures we're going to have to take within the city."

Current projections have the Red River cresting at or around April 15. 

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