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Mayor Mahoney declares State of Emergency, sets goal of one million sandbags for flood 2019

MGN PHOTO: Bags filled with sand to stop a storm surge, Photo Date: March 29, 2008
MGN PHOTO: Bags filled with sand to stop a storm surge, Photo Date: March 29, 2008(KMVT)
Published: Mar. 18, 2019 at 2:36 PM CDT
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At a press conference Monday afternoon, Fargo's mayor, Tim Mahoney, signed an emergency declaration in anticipation of the 2019 Spring Flood.

In the declaration, the Mayor notes that Fargo is in danger of suffering a substantial flood event in the upcoming spring season.

To prepare for future flooding, Mahoney has set a goal of one million sandbags to be prepped over the next few weeks due to a 10 percent forecast of a 40.3-foot river crest.

Fargo Sandbag Central will open on Tuesday, March 26 and will continue operations until the sandbag goal has been met, according to a press release.

For more information on volunteer sign up efforts will be released later this week, according to a press release.

Below is the complete press release sent by the City of Fargo:

At 2:15 p.m. this afternoon, Mayor Tim Mahoney signed an emergency declaration in anticipation of the 2019 Spring Flood. In this declaration, the Mayor noted that the City of Fargo is in danger of suffering a substantial flood event and therefore proclaimed that a state of emergency exists in the City. This emergency declaration authorizes agencies of local, state and federal agencies to take action to limit hardships of this pending emergency upon the citizens of Fargo.

On Monday morning, an internal staff preparatory meeting was convened by City Administrator Bruce Grubb and Emergency Services Coordinator Leon Schlafmann to discuss the City’s preparations and the potential responses at various flood levels. In addition to all Fargo City departments, the City of West Fargo, Cass County, Fargo Public Schools, North Dakota Air National Guard, FirstLink and the American Red Cross were all participants.

Mayor Mahoney will be directing City staff to prepare for the National Weather Service (NWS)’s current 10% probabilistic forecast of a 40.3-foot river crest. This will require the production of one million sandbags over the next few weeks, in addition to other measures. Fargo Sandbag Central will open on Tuesday, March 26 and will continue operations until the sandbag goal has been met (likely 9-10 working days). Volunteers will be requested to assist in this production effort, as well as placement of the sandbags. More information on volunteer signup efforts will be made available this week. As in previous flood fighting efforts, Fargo staff members will begin regular public briefings on Monday, March 25 in the Fargo City Commission Chambers.

Mayor Tim Mahoney stated, “While we have made tremendous strides in our permanent flood protection efforts, this is a very serious flood forecast and we will meet it with a serious response. It is critically important for everyone to know that we will need the public’s assistance; we cannot be complacent. Once again, we need to see the Spirit of Fargo across our volunteer efforts. Working together, we’re all committed to successfully protecting the Fargo metro.”

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