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100-Year Rain in Fargo Flood


The city of Fargo may have kept the high floodwater of 2009 at bay, but in the summer of 2000, a 100-year rain soaked the city. Seven inches fell in seven hours overnight. And on this date, when it was all said and done, half the city’s homes had taken on water. The damage estimates hit almost $100 million.

The North Dakota State University Library was heavily damaged. Two feet of water had already pooled in the basement when the windows burst, adding another two feet of water. The library tossed out 10,000 periodicals and journals and sent microfilm records to Chicago for freeze-drying and preservation. Other journals were moved to temporary safe spots in town. Pamela Drayson had been the library’s director for barely three days when the rainwater racked up $4 million in losses.

Nearly every building on campus had water in its basement. Phone and internet service was lost. NDSU had $18 million in water damage plus $21 million in losses to crops and research.

The Fargodome didn’t fare well either. The arena flooded with six feet of water. The water had swept in from loading docks, utility tunnels and overhead doors. The turf field floated off the floor. It took two days to pump out 52 million gallons of water. The damage total was about 10 million dollars.

Meanwhile, vehicles stalled in the streets as Fargo’s major routes flooded. Power went out across the city and the sewer backed up. Some residents had to battle water coming in through toilets and bathtubs. Some residents in basement-level apartments had six feet of water in their homes, losing everything. Mayor Bruce Furness declared a state of emergency. Dennis Walaker, who was then Fargo’s operations director, called the storm a 100-year rain event. Fargo gets about 20 inches of rain a year. On this occasion, it got seven inches in one night.

Dakota Datebook by Jack Dura


Times Wire Services (2000, June 21). Heavy rains flood Fargo streets, homes. LA Times. Web. Retrieved from: "http://articles.latimes.com/2000/jun/21/news/mn-43422" http://articles.latimes.com/2000/jun/21/news/mn-43422

Michael Miller, email, July 1, 2000. Retrieved from: "http://listsearches.rootsweb.com/th/read/GermanRussian/2000-07/0962481828" http://listsearches.rootsweb.com/th/read/GermanRussian/2000-07/0962481828

Haney, D. (2013, June 19). Summer storm anniversary brings bad memories. KFGO. Web. Retrieved from: "http://kfgo.com/news/articles/2013/jun/19/summer-storm-anniversary-brings-bad-memories/" http://kfgo.com/news/articles/2013/jun/19/summer-storm-anniversary-brings-bad-memories/

"https://www.flickr.com/photos/ndsu-university-archives/collections/72157630223873394/" https://www.flickr.com/photos/ndsu-university-archives/collections/72157630223873394/