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1997 Red River Flood, Part 7


The National Weather Service had a long standing forecast that the Red River in Grand Forks would crest at 49 feet during the flood of 1997, and the service didn’t officially revise its forecast until the river actually reached 49 feet on April 16th. The Red wouldn’t crest until 5 days later, this date, April 21st, when it reached 54.11 feet. That level would hold for nearly 24 hours before the river would ever so gradually fall back to normal levels. But the damage had already been done. 3/4ths of the people living in Grand Forks were evacuated. Everyone in East Grand Forks was forced to leave town. All told there would be about two billion (that’s billion with a “B”) dollars worth of damage to the two towns. The good news out of all this is that not a single person was killed in the flood itself.

By Merrill Piepkorn


Fargo Forum, April 22, 1997

Red River Rising by Ashley Shelby