Officials: Moorhead is prepared for flood


Bryce Haugen
brycevincenthaugen@gmail.com
Moorhead City Engineer Bob Zimmerman briefed residents about potential flooding and the city’s preparations for it at a informational meeting Tuesday night at Minnesota State University Moorhead’s Comstock Memorial Union.
“As it looks now, this flood event looks very manageable,” Zimmerman said. “Let’s hope for the best.”
After Mayor Johnathan Judd issued a state of emergency last month, the city mobilized the sandbag operations center and volunteers filled 55,000 sandbags. At the meeting, he thanked city leaders and those who pitched in to help.
“We are extremely fortunate to live in a community where our people come together in times of emergency,” Judd said. “… Thank you all for what you have done for our community to get us to this point.”
Due to investments in permanent protection, the record flood of 2009 is much different than the current flood, he said.
In the past 10 years, Moorhead has spent nearly $110 million in state and local funds to buyout 263 flood-prone properties and construct 12 miles of permanent floodwalls and levees. That means, instead of the 2.8 million sandbags needed to fight that flood, these days, the city would need less than 150,000 sandbags for a similar type of event.
The National Weather flood forecast from two weeks ago indicated the region had a 50 percent likelihood of a 37.9 foot flood, a 10 percent chance of a 40.3 foot flood and a 5 percent possibility of a 41.4 foot flood, which would have been a new record.
“That was an attention-getter,’ Zimmerman said.
He said the city has planned for the worst-case scenarios, but has the flexibility to scale up and scale down based on updated forecasts.
“If we don’t prepare for those, we have no chance of executing a successful flood fight,” he said.
The latest NWS forecast show the Red River in Fargo-Moorhead will reach 34.6 feet by Monday, far short of the earlier worst-case scenarios.
For the latest flood information, go to www.cityofmoorhead.com/flood. There, residents can sign up for CodeRED emergency alerts.
(Photo/Bryce Haugen)

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