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Mandatory evacuation orders have been issued for one-third of Minot, ND and for Burlington, ND as well. Evacuation maps for Minot and Burlington as well as information on assistance are below the squiggly. (What is that called , anyway?) So far approximately 11,000 people have evacuated the area. (For reference, 19,000 evacuated Cedar Rapids, IA three years ago.)
Follow on twitter using #Minot, #Minotflood, and #Flooding.
The Souris River is expected to crest at 1565 feet. (per NOAA page below the squiggle)
Historical flood crest information (from NOAA):
(1) 1,558.00 ft on 01/01/1881
(2) 1,556.08 ft on 04/18/1976
(3) 1,555.40 ft on 04/20/1969
(4) 1,555.15 ft on 04/20/1904
(5) 1,544.06 ft on 04/12/1996
Water is being released from Lake Darling Dam at 12,000 cubic feet per second (cfs). That release rate is being increased by 1000 cfs every 5 hours. Old information! These were the release rates before the COE announced increased outflows from Lake Darling. If anybody has updated flow numbers, please post them below and I'll update. Most recent release rate is 29,000cfs-more than twice the rate originally indicated. The water is rising at approximately half a foot per hour.
I'm going to put all updates at the top today. It's going to be a bad day for Minot.
The ticker on weather.com for this flood looks to be a very good way to track which areas are flooding. I can't get to the links they are posting-yfrog is blocked from work, of course. Excellent real-time coverage.
Update 3:24pm CDT June 24 Latest reading is 1559.31ft.
Update 1:26pm CDT June 24 The Souris River is officially in record flood territory. The most recent reading (at 12:00, they are reading every two hours) is 1558.52. Flood stage is 1549, last record flood was 1558.
Update 10:41am June 24 NOAA (same link as below) is predicting a sharp increase in water levels at the Souris River gauge, starting now.
MINOT WEATHER CONDITIONS HERE
40% chance of rain today.
Background: Minot, ND is a city of just over 40,000 people less than 60 miles south of the US/Canada border. This city was built at the junction of two major transcontinental railroad lines (BNSF and CP Rail-both have suspended operations in this area due to the flooding, which means Amtrak is hampered as well.)
Due to the Williston Basin oil boom, the housing supply is extremely tight-people are sleeping in their cars.
Here is a map of the town. Take a look at the river.
This flooding was predicted by NOAA back in March, but the timetable has accelerated dramatically due to substantial rain in Canada, which has had to release large volumes of water from the Rafferty and Alameda Reservoirs to prevent damage. That water has gone right into the Souris River, which flows south into the US, loops around, and heads back into Canada. (Yes, geography is weird there.) Usually Lake Darling Dam releases are timed to increase and decrease with area snowmelt, but water levels are increasing so fast they can no longer be controlled.
This event is expected to keep evacuees away from their homes for several weeks.
Evacuation information and assistance:
If people have damage they should call FEMA immediately at 1-877-212-0316 to start the process.
Souris River height tracking at NOAA
Interesting NOAA map showing topology and other communities in ND under threat
USGS Lake Darling Flood Monitor Page
Inundation maps-large file! loads slowly!
Corps of Engineers Minot levee review, undated
May 20 Article about rising water outflows
Significant event timeline:
4:14pm Outflows from Lake Darling increased. Expected crest now 1565ft. Expanded evacuation areas to be announced. Broadway Bridge closed.
9:30am The Souris River begins to overflow levees in Minot.
11:00am The National Weather Service issues a flash flood warning after the water levels rise four feet in a brief period of time.
12:57pm Warning sirens for evacuation begin to sound, 5 hours early.
Kossacks Blog the Flood
Other Media Resources:
Paul Douglas at startribune.com
weather.com page on Minot flood
local Minot media reports
Minot Daily News
A decent summary from the Washington Post
A review of flooding from the Canadian side, including the Souris River
26 communities in Saskatchewan are under some kind of flood surveillance
Results of google news search-lots of articles on both US and Canadian flood efforts