Three weeks ago I wrote about the 2013 Red River Flood that was predicted for Fargo, ND, and Moorhead, MN. It seems the river crested on Tuesday or Wednesday. It was a flood, but it wasn’t as bad as the National Weather Service (NWS) was predicting. And I have several pictures, if you’re interested. More details below the orange croissant.
If you want to read my previous diary from April 12th, it’s here: The Red River Flood of 2013 Is Coming. I was amazed and flattered to get 130 recs (I think it even got to the rec list for about an hour). I explained a little about the local geography. This area was once the bed of a huge lake (bigger than the current Great Lakes) formed by a melted glacier. It’s very flat, dropping about one foot per mile. The Red River of the North flows north to the Arctic Ocean. And the amount of flooding depends on how fast the snow melts.
Predictions Went from 38 to 40 to 38 to 35.5 Feet
At the end of March, the National Weather Service (NWS) was predicting a 38-foot flood crest. That would make it the fifth-worst flood in history. The NWS said there was a 50% chance of more than 38 feet and 50% chance of less than 38 feet.
After I wrote the previous DKos diary, we got at least a foot of wet, nasty snow. Which is unusual but not unheard-of for this time of year. The NWS changed their prediction and briefly said we had a 40% chance of setting a record – it might be the worst flood ever. 40 feet or more. Volunteers filled more sandbags. Then the weather was fairly mild –warm days and cool nights – which meant a gradual melt. The NWS moved the prediction back to 38 feet (which would still be the fifth-worst). Then, as the river rose and the weather cooperated, they reduced the prediction to 35.5 feet. Which is not bad. We can handle 35 feet.
Here’s the official hydrograph. The river seems to have crested at around 33 or 34 feet on Tuesday night or Wednesday morning (which is the latest flood crest in history):
Some Pictures of the Flood
I walked down to the river and took some photos on Monday, April 29th (about a day before the crest).
A sign says the road is closed. In case you didn’t notice the road goes into the river.
Flood control pumping station FC-2. With flood waters lapping up against it, so it’s not doing its job very well. That’s Fargo on the other side of the river.
From left to right: no-parking sign, stop sign, old-fashioned street light. All of them underwater.
Here’s the Main Avenue bridge that connects Moorhead to Fargo (one of several). At 32 feet of flooding, the river still has clearance under the bridge. If it went to 40 feet, it might mean closing the bridge. That building on the left is an old folks/retirement home in Fargo.
Another picture of the bridge.
Standing on the bridge, looking south, here’s a very tall pine tree (and the backside of a stop sign). Plus, a line of smaller pine trees. Almost like a mother duck followed by her baby ducks.
The same tall pine tree. And a ramp that ends up in the river. A water tower in the background.
Here’s that water tower. Still some snow on the ground on the left. In the bottom right corner, you can see the flood waters that are creeping up.
See those dark stripes around the trunks of the trees? When I was a kid, Fargo/Moorhead had lots of elm trees. Then Dutch Elm disease started killing elm trees and one of the ways to prevent it was to paint a ring of tar around the trunks of all trees. I’m not sure if the tar killed the bugs that carried the disease or if it just trapped their tiny bug legs. But you’ll see those tree stripes all around town. This is the back of the Loire Apartments.
Another picture of The Loire apartments. There’s still snow on one side. And the river is rising.
Woodlawn Park in Moorhead. On the left is a children’s play area (jungle gym or whatever you call it). On the right you can see the green roof of the building with the restrooms.
The park has disc golf (like golf but with Frisbees instead of balls). Here’s a disc-golf hole (so to speak) on the edge of the flood.
Here’s a basketball court at Woodlawn Park covered with water (you can see the backboards peeking out of the water). And that fence in the background tells you where the tennis court will be after the water recedes.
Here’s the old power plant (which is abandoned now). It’s surrounded by a fence and KEEP OUT signs. The parking lot has recycling dumpsters.
Near the old power plant, there’s a walking path, which leads to the river. In case you didn’t notice the path leads DIRECTLY TO THE RIVER, there’s a sign that says “Road Closed.” As I was walking to this place, some stranger approached me and said “There’s a beaver in the back yard of a house around the corner! If you’re taking pictures, you should look for the beaver.” Alas, I didn’t see the beaver.
This is the old Park Elementary School. When I was a kid, this was a public school. Then the baby boomers grew up and the city sold the school to a church, which called it “Park Christian School” but then they moved to a bigger building. Now it’s an apartment building. I’ll bet the ceilings are really high. I’d love to see what the apartments look like.
Here’s a children’s playground. In the winter, this is an outdoor ice rink. The snow shows you where the edges of the rink are.
Back home. Last fall, we planted some bulbs. Crocuses, tulips, muscari. They look pretty good. Spring is coming.
I hope you liked this photo diary.