UPDATE: Cavalier, ND, Evacuation Order to be Lifted Friday - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

UPDATE: Cavalier, ND, Evacuation Order to be Lifted Friday Morning

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Thursday 10:15 a.m. Update

Evacuees from Cavalier, North Dakota, will have to spend another night away from their homes. The city council has just voted to lift the evacuation order at 7 a.m. Friday. Council members say they're concerned about the amount of water still pressuring the Renwick Dam.

Thursday 7:30am Update

A decision is expected to be made at 11am Thursday whether people can return home in Cavalier, ND.

The city was evacuated Tuesday night because officials feared the nearby Renwick Dam could fail, and flood the city.

Right now, the river near the Renwick Dam has dropped about a foot and continues to drop an inch every hour.

There is some overland flooding in those areas, but river levels have dropped and efforts to strengthen the dam are holding.

North Dakota's Governor took a tour of the area yesterday to get a look at the conditions.

Wednesday 7:00am Update

The situation is looking better at the Renwick Dam near Cavalier, ND Wednesday morning.

The dam has held so far. 

Valley News Live's Neil Carlson has been at the dam all morning as says it appears the water levels are holding steady.

The city of Cavalier remains under an evacuation order.

Tuesday 11:15pm Update

Officials are still closely monitoring the Renwick Dam tonight. Cavalier Mayor Ken Briese says if the dam and levee were to breach, the flood would be devastating to the town.

The Pembina County Sheriff's Department has asked the North Dakota State Patrol, Border Patrol, Cavalier Police, and the National Guard to block off any roads leading into Cavalier. In an emergency situation, people can be escorted into town.

The mayor says the water has never been this high and the risk never so great.

"I'm thinking that even if the lake started going down, the temporary fill that we put in there, which actually raised the lake 8 feet, is not up to par. So it could fail anyway so we would have to let it drain way down before we could come back," says Briese.

The Renwick Dam is about 7 miles west out from the center of town, and Mayor Briese says last he heard the water was only 3 feet from the top but rising at a very fast rate. At this point, all the residents can do is pray for the best.

Tuesday 5:30pm Update

High water at the Renwick Dam west of Cavalier, North Dakota is causing the entire town to evacuate. The Sheriff's Office says a mandatory evacuation is happening at 7:00 Tuesday night.

Heavy rain has fallen over the northern valley the past several days, leading to widespread flood warnings. The Renwick Dam has not failed or breached, but officials continue to monitor the situation.

Pembina County's Emergency Manager, Andrew Kirking, says they are moving hospital and nursing home residents from Cavalier to facilities nearby, included in that, Grafton and Park River.

If you want to leave your home, but need help, you can contact county and public health workers. For evacuees, Kirking offers two pieces of advice:

  1. Take the basics
  2. Plan to be away for up to a week.

As far as the concerns surrounding the Renwick Dam, he said they feel the design is stable, however,  it's the amount of water upstream that is most unsettling.

The American Red Cross is opening a shelter at Drayton Public Schools, located at 108 South 5th Street in Drayton, ND.

A trailer with supplies is on its way to Cavalier equipped with 200 cots, 400 blankets, and food/water for displaced residents. It should arrive close to 7:00 p.m. at the shelter site in Drayton. At least four Red Cross volunteers will be assisting with opening the shelter.

For more Red Cross fire safety and preparedness information visit www.redcross.org/minnkota.

Tuesday Update

Emergency officials in northeast North Dakota are keeping a close watch on the Renwick dam and have told people downstream to prepare for a possible evacuation.

Crews worked through the night Tuesday to support a spillway under construction.  The plan was to have protection in place by 8 Tuesday morning to prevent potential flooding if the spillway broke.

The area is being monitored around the clock.

Emergency officials say they are currently under are currently under emergency level 2 which does not require evacuation at this time, but they are asking people to pack a bag incase they need to quickly leave the area.


The City of Cavalier has a possible emergency condition at the Tongue River watershed dam M4 (Renwick Dam) that is located 6 miles west of Cavalier, North Dakota.

We have activated the emergency action plan for the Renwick Dam and are currently under emergency level 2 which does not require evacuation at this time.

The situation is constantly being monitored.   

We are implementing predetermined actions to respond to the rapidly developing satiation that could result in dam failure.

Please prepare to evacuate the area along low-lying portions of the Tongue River.

We will advise you as soon as the situation is resolved or if the situation gets worse.

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