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Forecasters predict one of three-highest recorded Red River floods in Fargo

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FARGO- Flood crest predictions for Fargo have jumped 3 feet, with the National Weather Service now predicting a 50 percent chance of the Red River hitting 38 feet by mid-April.

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City Engineer Mark Bittner said a 38-foot flood stage through the city would be the third-highest recorded.

Emergency management officials from Fargo and Cass County met this morning at Fargo City Hall to discuss the new flood predictions and to go over the status of flood preparations from sandbags and pumps to tetanus shots and emergency command centers.

The flood outlook includes a 10 percent chance of a flood of 40 feet or more, which Bittner said would be a challenge to fight.

"This is not the March Madness I anticipated," Fargo Mayor Dennis Walaker said.

"What we've seen today here, it's changed dramatically," Walaker said of the flood prediction. "Is it time to be concerned, I think it is. ... We've got issues."

Major flood stage in Fargo starts at 30 feet.

The highest recorded flood in Fargo was 39.5 feet in 1997, officials said.

Several officials said an area of concern will be in the rural areas south and southwest of Fargo, as waters from the Sheyenne and Wild Rice rivers may well break their banks and advance overland toward Fargo and the Red River.

"That hits us where we're most vulnerable," Bittner told the group.

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