Weather Forecast


FEMA says 'Yes' to Minot flood assistance ... River level update ... How to help

Quickly rising flood waters from the Souris River cover a city block in Minot on June 24, 2011. (CHRISTIAN RANDOLPH/Grand Forks Herald)

The Federal Emergency Management Agency will offer individual assistance to flood victims in Ward and Burleigh counties, Gov. Jack Dalrymple's office said late Friday.

This means, among other things, FEMA funds made available to individuals -- as opposed to local governments -- to aid in rebuilding and aid in finding transition housing.

FEMA funds will likely not cover all damages, Willie Nunn, FEMA's top official in Minot said Friday. The average disaster victim gets about $7,000 to $8,000, he said, and the most that any have received is $33,300. "It doesn't make you whole."

Transition housing could take the form of trailers, but may include apartments and hotels in other cities, Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., said Friday afternoon.

The housing market was already tight in Minot before the flood and is expected to be an even bigger challenge after the loss of homes.

The front end of the individual assistance program will be host disaster recovery centers where flood victims can check in. The state and FEMA will open two in Minot, one in the north and one in the south, and a third in Bismarck.

Minot is the largest city in Ward County and the state's fourth largest with a population of 41,000. Bismarck is the largest city in Burleigh County and the state's second largest with a population of 61,000.

Dalrymple said he's still pressing FEMA to offer individual assistance in 20 other counties and two Indian reservations that have suffered disasters.


This morning, the Souris River went over a ring dike in Sawyer, N.D., a town of 360 downstream of Minot, Mayor Cy Kotaska said. The basement of two homes were flooded as a result, he said.

Previously, flooding had taken another home with water leaving just the roof visible, he said.

A section of the town near the river has been under a mandatory evacuation order, but other parts are evacuating as the river rises.

But the flood fight continues.

"We're still working like crazy to raise the dikes," he said. "We'll see what happens."


The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers told Velva, N.D., city leaders this morning that workers need another 24 to 30 hours to finish the dikes, the city website said.

More than 60 truck drivers, excavators and other large equipment operators are in town working 24 hours a day, the website said.

Nearly the entire town of 1,100 downstream of Sawyer is under a mandatory evacuation order. Residents in the evacuation zone must be out by 9 p.m. tonight.


The Souris River gauge near the Canadian border shows a sharper drop in the river level than the National Weather Service has been projecting, good news for flood fighters downstream.

As of 9:30 a.m., the river was at 27 feet near Sherwood, N.D., where the river emerges out of Saskatchewan. The weather service had projected it'd be at 27.3 feet at around this point. The river crested there on Thursday night, giving the corps a better idea of how much they can retain in the Lake Darling reservoir without it filling up too rapidly.

Reservoir levels were at 1,600.6 feet above sea level as of 9:15 a.m. The maximum level is 1,601.5 feet.

In Minot, the Souris was at 1,561.5 feet as of 9 a.m. The crest of 1,563.5 feet is projected to hit early Sunday morning.

In Sawyer, the river was at 27.1 feet as of 7 a.m. That's higher than the weather service projected. In the afternoon, it should've been no higher than 26.6 feet. The crest of 29.5 feet is projected to hit Monday morning.

In Velva, the river was at 1,510.2 feet as of 9 a.m. The weather service projects the crest of 1,518 feet will hit early Tuesday morning.


Grand Forks area residents who wish to help flood victims in Minot and the rest of Ward County can now drop off donations at Grand Forks International Airport, GFK Flight Support, Rydell Auto Center or ABRA Auto Body & Glass, the airport said this morning.

Items requested include: bottled water, Gatorade powder packs, diapers, formula, non-perishable food items, blankets, coloring books, crafts, coloring crayons/markers, stuffed animals or toys, and so on. More donation suggestions may be found at,, or Minot Mousketeers on Facebook.

Other ways to help include donations sent to:

• •The Minot Red Cross at

• The Salvation Army's Northern Division at

• The Minot Area Community Foundation, which has a fund targeted at flood recovery in the Minot region. Go to or call (701) 852-0646.

• The North Dakota Community Foundation, which has a fund for statewide flood recovery. Go to or call (800) 605-5252.