Tuesday, March 31, 2009


I heard someone coin this phrase today regarding our blizzard and flood - sounds pretty apt to me!

Well, the winter storm they had warned us about certainly came roaring in last night. We have had several inches of snow already and it's falling pretty steadily again along with 20 mph winds. Our office was open for a few hours and they sent us home at 11 a.m. So many roads are closed for us and now with the blizzard, we only have one way out of our development and it's compacted with snow. The scary part is that this side road has ditches full of water that if you should happen to slide off the road you run the risk of going under. Not good ... I took it nice and slow on my way home.

So far, the snow and the wind hasn't caused much damage at all to the dikes. I listened to the daily press conference by city officials and they seem pleased with how the levees and dikes are handling the stress of the recent storm weather.

I'm settling in with the kids today (they are back now that the river has receded some) and just put a chicken in a stockpot to cook all afternoon long (chicken noodle soup or knoephla soup - such decisions!) We'll pop in a DVD, I'll read a flew blogs and we'll spend the day inside safe and warm.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Flood '09: Holding steady

Saturday was a more quiet day in Fargo. Most dikes around the city held and the river was holding steady. Our dike has been strong and we have built it to nearly 44 feet in most places. It gave all of us a sigh of temporary relief. I think most of us caught up on sleep and probably took a nice warm bath to soothe our tired old bodies!

Some reports from the National Weather Service said it had crested already at 12:15 a.m. Saturday at 40.82 feet. By early Sunday, the Red River had dropped to 40.25 feet. City officials tell us there is more water south of town that needs to flow through the Red - so we are cautiously optimistic that it will not crested to the dreaded 43 feet that was once predicted.

Our development is directly across the river from Oakport Township in Moorhead where they have had lots of problems and lost homes. We are so fortunate to have had strong neighborly support of time, manpower and equipment to get our area where it needed to be.

By yesterday, I had sent the girls to friends' homes that are away from the river. They needed a break and I think the stress that we were feeling was getting to them. They seem to be having a good time elsewhere and it has made life easier for us. School has been called off already in the Fargo area for next week too.

For right now, our main course of action is dike patrol. As a neighborhood, we have to "man" our own dikes 24 hours a day for seepage and of course, breaches. Shifts are divided into 2-hour increments - four people are needed per shift. We were told that all shifts were covered until this coming Tuesday - which is fantastic.

Kyle and I had our shift last night from 6-8 p.m. Although I was on patrol, I couldn't help but bring my camera. This is a historic event. The photo above is Kyle checking one of the sump pumps.

The sun was still shining when we went out but toward the end of our shift it was bitter cold. The routine is that you walk the 3-block route and check the bags and the sump pumps. There is seepage from the bottom that is pretty much contained with the pumps and is considered normal. We were told to look for "sabatoge" of bags from the dike (who would do that?!?!?) and leaks from the middle of the sandbag pile.

We were met by National Guardsman on a couple of occasions. They were here from South Dakota helping with the effort. We still have roads closed into our development and the Guard is still cornered at each entry. It is a comfort to know they are there if something should go wrong.

The Red Cross has been so good to us! They have been here several times, leaving all kinds of food, water and cold and warm beverages for us - even for us on dike patrol! They dropped off warm roast beef sandwiches for us yesterday (which were delicious, by the way). I talked to one of the workers and he said that the area "church ladies" donated an astounding 2,000 sandwiches in one day to them.

One of the the main pumps in our development - notice the water that is being pumped back into the river.

This is one of the main houses that we sandbagged around. It is at the end of our cul-de-sac and if this dike was breached - we would have the river pouring down the street toward us. That is Kyle checking one of three sump pumps at the owner's house.

I'm sure this archway was quite a ways from the river at one point.

A long and winding trail of sandbags protects the cul-de-sac on our street.

This was a routine sight for the last week, mounds and mounds of sand on our street, waiting to be bagged and placed behind these rows of houses. We had about 100 people making sandbags for the last three days. Saturday was the first day we didn't have to do it. This sand is for us if we have an emergency. After this ordeal, the only sand I want to see is the stuff you find in Mexico!

The flood has also disrupted the natural habitat of the deer. Instead, they have found solace in our backyard. This has been a common scene this week. We have had as many as 9 deer in our yard - eating berries that have fallen from one of our trees (that I would LOVE to remove from our landscape - but that's a different story). The problem I have is that they are eating some of my ground cover on my garden beds and I don't want them to think this is an OK feeding spot for the future. They are driving Sasha nuts! Oh well, unique circumstances, right?!?!?

Thanks again for your concern and prayers ... it is much appreciated and best of all, I think it is working! We are putting up a valiant fight ....


Thursday, March 26, 2009

Flood update: More sandbags, please

After 24 hours and 300 volunteers frantically working around the clock, our dike is no longer deemed safe by the city. And recently, the Weather Service announced this afternoon that the Red could crest to 43 feet - which is how high most people have built their dikes. This is such a blow to us and the rest of Fargo!

We are hearing of more evacuations and it's becoming very scary for us. We have readied as many sandbags as we can this evening and hope that everyone turns out tomorrow for one last push before the anticipated crest on Saturday. We are all tired and emotionally drained. All schools are closed, most business are closed and no travel is advised for most of the city. We have the National Guard out on every corner of our development. My kids feel like a prisioner in their own home .... it's an awful feeling.

The worst part is that you just have to wait and see what will happen with the river on Saturday morning. We are at the mercy of Mother Nature and I hope she will be kind to us. I will post an update as much as I can. Thanks for all your thoughts and prayers blogger friends!


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Flood Fight

As many of you are probably aware through national and local news, Fargo is in a desperate fight against the Red River of the North. The last few days have been surreal with the overwhelming effort of the community to sandbag and volunteer. I am in awe of the unselfish nature of others to help their fellow man.

My neighborhood borders the river and we have been frantically making sandbag dikes at the end of our street and two streets north of us. My husband, son and I have been volunteering - in fact, I haven't seen our son very much in the last two days - school is let out for high schoolers and college kids to help and he's been in all parts of Fargo - doing his part. And it's hard work! Some of those sandbags can weigh up to 30 lbs! It's a human assembly line to get them laid down to protect these homes.

So far, we are safe and dry and city engineers came out to our site and we are confident our dikes will hold - others in different parts of Fargo-Moorhead have a tougher fight. As a write this, I hear they are evacuating people in south Fargo already. It's very disconcerting. I hope and pray that we can hold off the floodwaters and Fargo-Moorhead suffers minimal damage.

In the past 48 hours we've dealt with rain, thunder, lightning, rising waters and now a winter storm with 4-8 inches of more snow. It's a good thing we are resilient.

Here is a link that shows photos of what is happening on my street. http://www.flickr.com/photos/36626034@N07/

If you want to find out more - please visit http://www.inforum.com/. Other areas of the state are dealing with flooding and evacuations too.

Please keep the people of Fargo - and all of North Dakota in your prayers!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Spring? Soon? Please?

Hello blogging world!

As you can see, we have quite a bit of snow left - and expecting more this weekend. Argh ...
I got a little spring fever today as the temperature hovered in the mid-30s. It was wonderful but I'm afraid it'll be a long time before this white stuff is gone and the region is very worried about spring flooding.

This winter I have noticed lots of deer feeding off remnants of my garden. It's ok I guess. There was a family of deer and how could I deprive that little Bambi of nourishment!

I'm getting ready to order my seeds soon .... that's the fun part! I have enjoyed all the colorful catalogs that make it to my mailbox.

When I'm not enjoying all the seed catalogs, I've managed to watch my favorite show - American Idol! I admit, I'm addicted. And unfortunately to my kids' dismay, I've found Facebook! I have had so much fun. I'm astounded at the number of people that are on there. Young, old - you name they're on there. It's been a blast connecting with friends and colleagues. Just one more thing to keep me on my computer! :O)

Lastly, I mentioned that I took a hiatus from my blog when school started and my son's hockey season rolled around. Thought I'd share this photo from parents night. It's not very often that you can get your teenager to give you a hug - but that night he did and I just beamed. It was so nice ....

Hope everyone is doing well in their corner of the world! Hope to be on here more soon!