Major Floods Now a Breeze for Greater Grand Forks - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Major Floods Now a Breeze for Greater Grand Forks

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   Fargo is gearing up for a flood fight that will likely cost millions of dollars and require thousands of volunteers. Meanwhile, despite the forecast for major flood levels in the northern valley, city crews alone are handling everything that needs to be done in Greater Grand Forks.

  Following the Grand Forks flood and fire of 1997, the political climate was right to relatively quickly secure funding for a 410-million dollar flood protection project.

  So now, even with a major flood forecast, a system of flood walls and levees takes most of the work and worry out of high water here in Greater Grand Forks.

  A single city crew can install the barriers in this flood wall within 8 hours, while Fargo is planning a flood fight with thousands of volunteers.

Kevin Dean, City of Grand Forks: "We fought this year after year after year. Then in 97 we had the catastrophe and realized we had to do something on a permanent basis."

  Right now, city crews aren't really concerned with the river. They're scraping the snow and ice from street drains to make sure they can get rid of the water in town, once the melt begins.

  The water runs through drains to pumping stations all over town that pump it over the levees into the river.

Mark Aubol, GF Street Department: "Nobody notices what goes on too much as they did years ago, when we were dragging pumps all over and blocking roads with hoses. It's a whole different animal now."

  So when the high water comes, most folks in Greater Grand Forks won't even realize a flood is underway, except for the possibility of a bridge or two being temporarily closed.

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