Emergency manager: So far, flood outlook is favorable

Bryce Haugen

As it stands now, the flood outlook for the Red River Valley is favorable, according to Gabe Tweten, the Clay County emergency management director.
Tweten explained his department’s flood preparation efforts to the county board of commissioners at their weekly meeting Tuesday morning.
“I’ve been really busy,” he said.
The latest National Weather Service flood update on Monday revealed good news, Tweten said.
“Right now, things are looking pretty good as far as the melt,” he said. “Above freezing during the day and below freezing at night is ideal.”
Tweten has been working closely with the Chad Stangeland, Moorhead’s emergency management director to make sure the community is prepared in case a major flood does strike.
The city of Moorhead, Tweten said, is most vulnerable to Red River flooding, while the rural areas of the county are most susceptible to overland flooding.
An incident command crew that would staff an emergency operation center has been formed. And on March 29, the emergency management department will perform a mock activation of the center, provided it doesn’t have to be activated for an actual flood emergency before then.
Tweten’s past weeks have been filled with preparatory meetings, including with all relevant county department heads. Last week, he met with the American Red Cross and Salvation Army to plan how volunteers would be coordinated.
He told the board that a meeting of all the emergency management directors is scheduled for Wednesday at the Moorhead armory.
“It’s to go over all of the resources the guard has for us and how to use them,” Tweten said.
The county is also in the process of revising its flood operations plan.

In other business:
Janelle Cheney of the probation department provided an annual update to commissioners.
Adult and juvenile caseloads have been fairly consistent over the past year. So has the department budget.
Last year, the department moved from the juvenile detention center to the family service center.
“Thanks to you and your crew,” Commissioner Grant Weyland told Cheney. “We appreciate what you guys do.”
Later, Chanyce Dahl of the Clay County jail ministries filled the board in on the activities of her organization during the past year.
Each week, jail ministries provides 14 hours of programming at the correctional facility, including parenting, financial and anger management classes.
“People who are wanting to change have the opportunity to seek that,” Dahl said. “The reason I’m so passionate about jail ministry is because it really does affect our whole community … We are giving these people a second chance.”
To view the entire meeting, go the the Clay County MN Board of Commissioners page on youtube.com.

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