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The view this week from Mercy Hospital shows water starting to cross the Sixth Street Northeast bridge in Valley City. Primary and secondary earthen dikes can be seen protecting the hospital and clinic. (Dave Wallis/The Forum)

Students won't be returning to Valley City State University

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Students won't be returning to Valley City State University
Detroit Lakes Minnesota 511 Washington Avenue 56501

VALLEY CITY, N.D. - The mayor here continued urging residents to leave town on Wednesday to get out of the way of flood-fighting efforts and to relieve pressure on the storm sewer system.

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It's unclear how many followed the evacuation advisory, which urged vulnerable populations and those in the flood plain to leave by 6 p.m. Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Valley City State University, which falls in the evacuation area, announced it will not hold classes on campus for the remainder of the year. Classes will resume Tuesday online.

Mayor Mary Lee Nielson said her neighbors followed the advice, and Police Chief Dean Ross said he saw many people making preparations to leave.

Releases from Baldhill Dam are expected to be about 6,500 cubic feet per second through at least today, said Rich Schueneman, resource manager with the Army Corps of Engineers. Previously, the corps planned to increase the discharge to 7,000 cfs today.

In addition, local runoff into the Sheyenne at Valley City has subsided.

While that is good news, water will remain high for several days and continue putting pressure on the levees, Schueneman said.

The Sheyenne at Valley City had not crested as of 9 p.m. Wednesday, said Chauncy Schultz, meteorologist at the National Weather Service. The river level stood at 20.36 feet.

The water level may hold steady for the next day or so, but the river is expected to crest at 21.5 feet Sunday, Schultz said.

The storm sewer system is maxed to the limit, so Nielson asked residents to leave town rather than stay with people who live on higher ground.

"If at all possible, it'd be nice if you could take a little vacation," she said.

The Red Cross shelter moved from the Eagles Club to the school in Oriska, N.D., to ease pressure on the sewer system. Six people were housed there as of Wednesday evening, said shelter manager Steve Wolfe.

Valley City State University President Steve Shirley said the college is a laptop campus and ideally prepared to adjust to holding classes online. Commencement is still scheduled for May 16.

Students should check their e-mail and the www.vcsu.edu Web site for further updates.

Forum reporter Mike Nowatzki contributed to this report

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