Levee leak forces evacuation in Fargo - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Levee leak forces evacuation in Fargo

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FARGO, N.D. (AP) -- Late Friday morning crews are expected to start patching a breech in a dike that forced the evacuation of a Fargo neighborhood.

A city spokeswoman says that it was the only overnight breech as the Red River keeps rising. The repair work will be Friday morning, but an exact time hasn't been set.

Fargo police Capt. Todd Dahle says the evacuation was ordered shortly after 2 a.m. for all houses east of Fourth Street South between South River Road and Lindenwood Drive.

Dahle says it appeared everyone had been evacuated by about 3:30 a.m. About 150 homes are in the area.

He says the structural integrity of the dike was in question and there was an immediate threat of flooding. However, no houses were immediately flooded.

Meantime, a couple hundred volunteers were called out of bed and worked through the night to shore up a seven-block dike in south Fargo as the Red River rose.

Fire Department Capt. Ellis Aakre says Friday morning that the city put out the call for volunteers from south Fargo about 10:30 p.m. Thursday and hundreds turned out.

They placed 3 feet of sandbags atop a permanent levy built in the 1960s. They needed the extra height as the predicted river crest has been raised again, this time to 43 feet.

At 6 a.m. it was still only about 15 degrees outside, but Aakre says the volunteers built up the levy to handle the new projected crest with a little room to spare.

He says the community did a heck of a job.

In Crookston, hundreds of residents are watching and hoping their temporary dikes can hang on.

The Red Lake River crested in the small town about 60 miles north of Fargo, N.D., earlier this week at nearly 26 feet. It was at about 22 feet Friday morning.

City Administrator Aaron Parrish says the concern now is how long temporary dikes can hold back the water. Those dikes are the main protection for two neighborhoods with about 500 homes.

Parrish says volunteers working out of three command posts are checking all the city's dikes 24 hours a day. So far, there have been no breaches.

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