The Daily Slab – March 24

If North Dakota floats by, please catch it!

News of the flooding there has been stuck in the infamous “drafts” file for three days now and it’s time for it to make the Daily Slab.

Yesterday, CNN was reporting Flooding threatened up to 6,000 homes Monday in Fargo, North Dakota, where residents rushed to fill more than 1 million sandbags to stem the flow of the Red River, city officials said.

“So far, we have 310,000 bags filled and ready to go, but that’s a long way from the 1.5 million sandbags we need to fight this flood,” City Administrator Pat Zavoral said Sunday.

The National Guard and FEMA staff have been dispatched to help.

National news has been filled with stories of people putting their interest first; but, not so in North Dakota. 20,000 HELPING HANDS: At least 10,000 volunteers turn out; more needed to fight flood.sandbag-fargo

Buses could hardly keep up Monday with the thousands of volunteers eager to fill sandbags and fight the flood.

More than 10,000 people volunteered in Fargo-Moorhead, according to estimates from people coordinating the efforts. That doesn’t include people helping out friends or family.

The State must be populated by some of the best, most self reliant folks on earth, God love ‘um.  Helping others is bred into them.

Local colleges and universities canceled classes to allow students to participate, and many employers excused workers to join the effort.  A line of students at North Dakota State University stretched about a block from the Old Main bus stop to Memorial Union. Minnesota State University Moorhead’s Nemzek Hall was the hub for local students and community members to volunteer. There, as at NDSU, volunteers waited in long lines for buses to take them to work sites.

The commitment to neighbor-helping-neighbor extends to neighboring Minnesota.

Across the river outside Moorhead, Minn., Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton High School junior Luke Gable said he was given the option of studying or sandbagging, and decided school could wait.

Everyone needs help right now,” Gable “We’ve got fresh legs and fresh arms.”

Heart-warming, you bet – and, that’s not even the half of it.  There was  devestating flooding a while back.  In fact, the Flood of 1997 has its own website – and the link across the top of the homepage it says Mississippi and Louisiana Hurricane Katrina Victims Need Your Help. Given that, you can imagine how delighted I was to read Gable’s “fresh legs and fresh arms” were getting a workout courtesy of  Louisiana.

Fargo is borrowing some expertise from Louisiana. The National Guard and the city plan to bring in seven miles of 4-feet high interlocking plastic containers that can be filled with sand to form temporary dikes, a system that was used during Hurricane Katrina.

How bad is it?

The National Weather Service projected that the Red River would crest between 37 feet and 40 feet between March 28 and April 1. That’s about 22 feet above flood stage and about a half-foot higher than the 1997 spring flood...A storm also was expected to drop one or two inches of rain in the Red River Valley starting Sunday.

“If we go to 40 feet, we’re going to be tested,” Fargo Mayor Dennis Walaker said Saturday after touring sandbagging operations with North Dakota Gov. John Hoeven and other officials… and the mayor said the North Dakota State University football team was scheduled to help with the sandbagging process.

How bad was it back in ’97?

I actually found a second ’97 website – one designed to record the history.

Billions in damage, homes destroyed, residences forced from homes…Grand Forks, North Dakota has suffered like few cities ever have.

On paper its disaster seems small, no loss of life, the population isn’t that large

Most residents of the Midwest are astoundingly planning to stay in this region. The spring of 1997 would be enough to drive anyone away. Imagine suffering through eight blizzards only to be hit by a flood, a fire, and an ice storm, almost back to back.

The ice storm was something never seen in this region. Power was knocked out, crippling the communication information, forcing people to search for information on the reduced radio broadcasts. Residents of the region went as long as one week in rural areas without power and heat, being forced to suffer through the frigid temperatures.

Just when recovery began, the National Weather Service placed a prediction of 49 ft. on the Red River spring crest…What followed was a record crest of 54 ft…Driven from their homes, residents could only sit and watch as water overran their dream houses or childhood homes.

Enter the last of the tragedies, the downtown fire. One day after the evacuation, fires ravaged downtown Grand Forks, not only destroying a town’s heritage but any spirit the tired workers had. Firefighters unable reach hydrants underwater could only watch as 14 buildings in the historical downtown area burned to the ground…

It may not measure historically with other disasters by the deaths but if there was a scale for pain, stress, and emotion, the Midwest would measure off the scale.

Can you help?

Coastal people know the disaster routine better than any other.  Only those who can be self-sufficient on arrival should grab their keys and travel.  If you can’t grab your keys, grab your checkbook.

By all means, send your prayers – for their safety and in thanksgiving for this example of how people pull together before they bailout.

Also on the SLAB today

So far just two thoughts in addition to what Sop has posted.

  • A secret is something you don’t want folks to know – like where and when a Grand Jury is meeting and what is presented and discussed.
  • Remember the Daily Slab is an open thread.  All you former- folo folks I see lurking are welcome to make yourselves at home.

8 thoughts on “The Daily Slab – March 24”

  1. I had the opportunity spend some time in ND a couple of years ago and was in Fargo for part of that time. I was very impressed with how those folks understand the situation they face from time to time. They love where they live and accept they have some perosnal responsibility from time to time to try and protect theri city. How refreshing it was.

    I was there in June and it was beautiful. The fields of grain are something to behold. Their citizens would have no trouble fitting in with us “good ol’ boys” from the South.

  2. I’m sure that’s true, Sup, and they wouldn’t think twice about covering wind damage in the NFIP if it would help other people. No one should.

  3. Nowdy look what I found. I was excited to see Louisana’s own making it big in the world at a young age. This is America’s Shooting Star Couple according to one of my favorite sites—

    Of special note are the relative newcomers on our list, who show signs of becoming the next generation

  4. Great link! I enjoyed the article but I couldn’t make the map work. When I clicked on a person, the name would light but when I hit search, nothing happened. Got any clues about that?

  5. There is a map tools you can click on. Map tools is on the left side of the box.

    Some people even though they list them in the article are not in Muckety. I would use it as a research guide. I don’t know quality of info but you can satisfy yourself about that.

  6. One of the largest problems with sandbagging is finding volunteers to fill these bags.
    Why can’t local grain elevators be used to automatically fill the sandbags and have them delivered by truck to the critical areas?

  7. Why can’t these sandbags be filled mechanically at local grain elevators and sent to critical areas thus relieving manual sandbagging and allow sandbaggers to just place the bags where needed without the need to fill them?

  8. Good questions, Mr. Kupferer, and I don’t know the answer. I do know there is some sort of machine used but to what extent I don’t know.

    One interesting thing I read was they have to keep the bags from freezing – water runs right through a frozen sand bag. How they manage with snow on the ground, I don’t know.

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