Fargo's Red River holds around 40 feet: flooding risk decreases
Update: As the nation keeps an eye on the Red River flooding, a dike in Fargo, North Dakota failed. Floodwater swamped a school before it was stopped by a backup dike.
No one was injured in the spill, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers spokesman Frank Worley said on Sunday.
Engineers noticed shifting in the permanent earth dike near the private Oak Grove Lutheran School in Fargo on Saturday and had tried to shore it up with more sandbags. Another dike location had been shored up, he said.
Fargo, North Dakota: The Red River is holding at about 40 feet in height, meaning the threat of flooding is decreasing. The National Weather Service is expecting the river to stay at this level for a few days. The river is at about 40.7 feet now.
Earlier it was predicted that the river could get up to 43 feet, which is the most the levees will hold. Residents are waiting to see if their sandbags will hold.
"Nobody in this valley, no matter how old they are ... has ever seen levels like this," Fargo, North Dakota, Mayor Dennis Walaker told CNN about the river's record-breaking height.
By 5:15 a.m. the river had risen to 40.8 feet, about 22 feet above the flood stage and several inches above the previous record of 40.1 feet, set in 1897.
Above-freezing temperatures, followed by heavy rains this week, have caused the Red River and its tributaries to swell, but Fargo's mayor vowed to "go down swinging."
"We've been battling this thing for eight days, and we're still ahead of the ball," Walaker said Saturday.
The overnight drop in temperature is what stayed the river level, but the area is still on high alert for evacuations and travel restrictions, unless absolutely necessary.
17,000 members of the National Guard are on alert and Obama said he is monitoring the situation carefully.
He has declared the area a federal disaster area
"Even as we face an economic crisis which demands our constant focus, forces of nature can also intervene in ways that create other crises to which we must respond -- and respond urgently," he said Saturday in his weekly radio and Internet address.
For now, all the residents are just watching and waiting.