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FARGO - Significant rainfall in the Red River Valley has caused construction setbacks and profit losses for seasonal businesses this week.

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Consistent rainfall coupled with low temperatures has also left standing water in yards and fields, damaging crops throughout the region.

On Wednesday, 1.92 inches fell in Fargo by 9 p.m. In the first 10 days of June, Fargo received 2.37 inches, trending slightly ahead of last year's 10-day total of 2.09 inches.

Mark Ewens of the National Weather Service said Fargo has been in a flood stage since Monday and he expects flooding to extend into the middle of next week, if not longer.

On Wednesday, the Red River was at 19.3 feet. Fargo does not experience significant flooding until levels reach approximately 25 feet, Ewen said.

"(The flooding) really hasn't been unmanageable," said Alan Weigel, Fargo's public works operations manager. "It's kind of expected from a fast rain like we've had. That's why the streets seem to be flooding in some areas."

Streets flooding

An increase in river water levels is causing some streets in the area to temporarily close, officials say.

In Fargo, the 1400 block of Elm Street closed Sunday night, Weigel said.

Wednesday's thunderstorms also brought minor localized street flooding caused by clogged storm inlets, he said.

Aside from those clogs, the city sewer system has not had trouble keeping up with recent rainfall, said April Walker, senior storm sewer utility engineer for the city of Fargo.

No streets have been closed yet in West Fargo or Moorhead, but Chad Martin, operations director for Moorhead Public Works, said he expects to close Third Street under the Main Avenue and Center Avenue bridges by tomorrow.

Martin said if the rain continues, it will be several days before the barricades are removed.

Martin said residents can help the city by cleaning the catch basin covers by the curb with a garden rake.

Construction

About 30 city projects around Fargo have sat around untouched for the past week and a half due to recent heavy rains.

The projects range from new developments to reconstruction to asphalt overlays, said City Engineer Dave Johnson. The projects began at the end of April.

"We're all shut down," Johnson said. "It's too wet to work out there."

In Moorhead, Assistant City Engineer Tom Trowbridge said about 10 projects have been halted due to the rain.

Trowbridge said a little work can be done between the rains for utility projects, but all of the street projects have been interrupted.

The delays shouldn't cost the city any money, Trowbridge said, but it does amp up residents' frustrations.

Johnson said construction delays happen every year, and contractors normally schedule in a few days of rain. He couldn't say how much it would delay the projects.

"It's delaying them somewhat, but they'll be at it again after it dries up," he said. "We're just waiting for sunshine."

Seasonal businesses

Heavy and consistent rainfall has some seasonal businesses in the area concerned about profits.

At Rose Creek Golf Course in Fargo, round count in May spiked by 500 to 600 compared to last May, said head golf professional Matt Cook.

Still, numbers lag behind what the golf course considers a normal year. Cook said May green fees were up compared to last year, but on average the golf course is down on revenue and round count.

At Edgewood Golf Course in Fargo, the course has been averaging about 150 players per day when it's not raining, said head golf professional Greg McCullough. Even on damp days, there are still regulars who won't give up their rounds of golf, he said.

So far, no major adjustments have had to be made at either golf course. McCullough said if the river swells past 21 feet they will have to adjust the course to make it one hole shorter.

"Here at Edgewood, people are pretty optimistic. We haven't had a flood yet," McCullough said. "As long as we have 18 holes open, people here are pretty resilient."

Local roofing businesses have also been affected by recent rainfall.

Master Craft Exteriors has about 150 roofing jobs scheduled for the Fargo area, but they have been put on hold for about two weeks.

"We're kind of basing everything off the weather," said Master Craft Exteriors manager Mark Spanton. "If it's wet and raining, we won't even start a roof."

Normally, the company does 25 roofs a week, but they were only able to finish two in Fargo last week, Spanton said.

Bonnie Anderson was in the middle of having a new roof and vents installed on her south Fargo home when rain halted the project.

Most of the time, roofing companies are able to watch the weather closely and plan ahead so that they can finish a job before rain hits, Spanton said.

Agriculture

Many Red River Valley farmers have also been hit hard by recent rains.

Randy Melvin, a Buffalo, N.D., farmer, has received nearly 6 inches of rain since June 1. The 2.4 inches of rain he received Wednesday was particularly damaging.

Some of his crop will drown out, and it's too late in the growing season to replant.

The cool weather that has come with the rain also has hurt, preventing the plants from growing as rapidly as they should, he said.

"It's discouraging. We need some dry, warmer days with sunshine," he said.

Lightning strike sparks attic fire

West Fargo firefighters responded to a house fire believed to have been caused by a lightning strike Wednesday afternoon.

Authorities received a report of smoke coming from the roof of a residence at 1919 Princeton Lane at about 3:18 p.m., said Fire Chief Roy Schatschneider. After firefighters arrived, flames started burning through the roof, he said.

A resident and her grandchild were home at the time of the fire but were uninjured, Schatschneider said.

About 18 responding firefighters extinguished the fire, which was confined to the attic, in about 20 minutes, he said. Crews battled the blaze from both the roof and the home's attic, which sustained the most damage.

The home also received minimal water damage.

A damage estimate is unknown. Schatschneider said an insurance adjuster was on the scene when crews left.

Wednesday's fire is believed to be the first caused by lightning in the city in about two years, he said.

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