Flood preparations under way in Fargo
FARGO - City crews this week will be checking equipment, keeping drains open and figuring out how many sandbags they'll need in preparation for a major spring flood.
The Street Department staffed both night and day shifts this past weekend, using payloaders and steamers to clear and melt snow away from storm drains to allow snowmelt to flow to the Red River, said Al Weigel, Fargo Public Works operations manager.
"We've opened up a lot of the drains, got the snow and ice off of them. We feel pretty comfortable we're going to stay ahead of things," he said, adding residents can help by chipping ice away from drains.
The melt is expected to continue this week: The National Weather Service predicts highs of near 49 today, 46 on Tuesday, 36 on Wednesday, 43 on Thursday and 45 on Friday.
Police dispatchers received several calls this weekend about water building up on streets in Fargo and Moorhead. Six to eight inches of water reportedly covered old Highway 52 under the railroad tracks near Barnesville on Sunday evening.
Weigel said city crews will be testing sluice gates, valves and lift gates this week to make sure they're operational and weren't damaged this winter.
The city has about 300,000 sandbags and plans to order more, he said. City officials will meet with Army Corps of Engineers officials this week to determine what level of protection the city needs.
The Corps also will train city staff within the next couple of weeks on how to build sandbag dikes so they can properly instruct residents when sandbagging in neighborhoods, he said.