Valley City seeing quiet night on dike patrol as Sheyenne River slowly levels off
VALLEY CITY, N.D. - The flood fight in Valley City has taken on a different tone this morning as the Sheyenne River dipped slightly before working its way to a crest later this week.
"The little leaks we've had we've been able to get fixed right away," said Holly Neuberger, a 911 dispatcher from Barnes County.
"Tonight, everything must be staying sealed. We're not getting a lot of calls."
Mayor Mary Lee Nielsen said flood fighters plan to exam the city's contingency dikes, in addition to building another. They'll also re-evaluate where to place emergency crews and equipment should a levee breach occur.
The city also could use volunteers to help fill sandbags, Nielsen said, and volunteers can go directly to the Winter Show arena along Interstate 94 to help.
The relatively quiet night is a stark contrast to the flood fight earlier this week, when residents, volunteers, North Dakota National Guard troops and officials scrambled to raise sandbag and earthen dikes.
The latest reading of the Sheyenne River was 20.37 feet late Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service in Grand Forks.
John Hoppes, a weather service meteorologist, said the Sheyenne appears as though it would hold steady until resuming its climb later in the week.
The river is expected to crest at 21.5 feet in Valley City by Saturday - well above the record of 20 feet.
"It doesn't really taper off after that," Hoppes said early today, adding the Sheyenne could see an additional rise in the river later. Outflows from the Baldhill Dam, north of Valley City, were increased to 6,500 feet per cubic second and may see further flow increases.
Neuberger said the flood fight in Valley City took on a different tone after officials called Tuesday for nearly half the residents to evacuate.
"I think a lot of them took advantage of that," Neuberger said, adding businesses and schools closed to aid in the effort to keep the city safe. "People have been really good."
The city's flood fight also is bolstered by quick response teams, who remain on standby to repair leaking dikes.
In addition, the city has been aided by volunteers coming from out of state and far stretches of North Dakota.
"It's been amazing," Neuberger said.
She also said there were concerns among Valley City residents about their neighbors down river, especially in Lisbon.
Hoppes said the Sheyenne is at 21.9 feet in Lisbon and will see the river there.
"They just hold it steady for the next seven days," Hoppes said of the river forecast in Lisbon.
In Fargo, the latest reading for the Red River was 33.5 feet. The river is expected to rise steadily to 37 feet by late Friday.
Hoppes said the Red River Valley could see rain totals of a half to three-quarters of an inch by the weekend, adding the precipitation is something "we don't need."
WDAY AM's Al Aamodt contributed to this report.