Lisbon faces flooding setbacks
Pressure from the raging Sheyenne River in Lisbon, N.D., forced water through cracked concrete and blew open a plugged manhole Wednesday, prompting evacuations and sending floodwaters down a street.
Crews built ring dikes around the problem areas to contain the water and equalize pressure with the river, Mayor Ross Cole said.
"This is the highest water we've ever seen, so new things are popping up all over the place," he said.
The National Weather Service raised the crest prediction to 22.7 feet for the Sheyenne at Lisbon, up from just below 22 feet.
City officials had already decided to raise dikes to 25 feet to prepare for a crest of 23 feet based on recent rain upstream and the possibility of more this weekend.
The river stood at 22.4 feet Wednesday afternoon and was forecast to crest about midnight, the weather service said.
The blown manhole was in about the same spot as a crack in the concrete at the Highway 27/Fifth Avenue East bridge that leaked water early Wednesday, leading to the evacuation of homes along Harris Street from Fourth to Seventh avenues south and from Fifth Avenue East to Rose Street, Cole said.
Crews built a ring dike around the crack and allowed water to fill it to the river level to equalize the pressure, Ransom County Public Information Officer Bruce Dougherty said.
City officials decided earlier to put up Hesco barriers along Harris Street, and residents of the roughly 20 affected homes on the river side of the backup dikes were advised to consider evacuating. Some left by Wednesday morning, and the rest followed when the crack leaked, Dougherty said.
"It was close enough to their street that they just didn't want to take any chances," he said.
Cole didn't know of any Lisbon homes lost to flooding, but some on Harris likely had water in their basements, he said.
With the river expected to hover between 22 and 23 feet for at least another week, more dike breaches are expected, but Dougherty said "we've got enough good people around here" to stay on top of it.
North Dakota National Guard members patrolled roads around the clock to assist Ransom County's limited law enforcement staff and went door-to-door to notify residents in evacuation areas.
The Guard also had a boat rescue team working with the U.S. Coast Guard in the area. A National Guard helicopter placed about eight 1-ton sandbags to reinforce Lisbon's dikes, National Guard Capt. Penny Ripperger said.
City officials asked residents to curb water use, especially during peak usage times, and to stay away from the river to allow emergency crews to do their work.
Forum reporter Patrick Springer contributed to this story.