Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Fargo - Bison Tough

Yes - we are having a blizzard here in Fargo. Yes, we are still flooding, but the river is dropping. Schools are closed, the interstate is closed, businesses are closed.

I took this photo at 7:30 this morning. Even with all of this craziness around us, there is such a serene calmness, such an amazing strength and a palpable resolve in the residents and in the land itself.

Fargo will survive and the people will be the stronger for it.

(Note: This photo is of the front gates to the North Dakota State University. It is the home of the NDSU Bison)

Monday, March 30, 2009

Had Enough....

I've already posted my photo for today, but I just had to share this one. Last Saturday when I went up to the Veterans Memorial Bridge (aka Main Avenue Bridge). We parked and walked in. As we were walking back to the car, I saw this guy walking over the bridge with his bags. He gave me permission to take the photo and said he'd had enough.

Catching him at a green light with the arrows overhead just seemed too good to pass up.

Right now we have no travel advised and at least a couple of inches of new snow on the ground. Schools are already canceled due to the flood fight. It looks like tomorrow we are expecting winds of 30-40 miles an hour. You would not believe how 40 miles an hour can blow around that snow! It makes it almost impossible to see when you're driving. The biggest trouble right now is that the snow makes it hard to see, but the icy flood water along the roads and in the ditches makes slipping off the road treacherous.

March 30 SNOW!!

I'm sure you've all heard by now because the press LOVES drama lol We are expecting 6-10" of new snow!

Yep, on top of the flooding, Fargo is in a blizzard! Total white out conditions. The snow was gone earlier this week.

I was not willing to walk very far to get photos, so it's just photos of neighboring places for today's post. You can see how large the flakes are and how much snow we've gotten.

This is just crazy.

The good news is that the river has dropped down from record breaking depths at 41.82 to 38.79! That may not sound like much, but it sure looks like a LOT! I'm not sure what all of this snow is going to do. It's wet and mushy snow and there is a whole lot water out there on the fields. As it melts, it will join the Red River and raise it up again. The mayor has said he doesn't think it will hit a record crest again. We'll see....

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Mar 29 - Mikelson Park is flooded

This is Mikelson Park and it is located at 9th Ave and Oak St N in Fargo, ND. It has hosted state and national fast pitch tournaments and is home to Little League Baseball and Fast Pitch Softball. Notice the small building at the top right side of the sign. You can see that the flood water has started to climb.

Here you can see that they are putting in earthen dikes to protect us from the rising flood water. They are actually piling dirt on Oak Street. You can't see them in this photo, but just to the left (behind that tree) is an apartment building.

Remember the building in the first photo? Here it is again, but a little more underwater. It looks like some sort of storage building maybe. There is a chain link fence around it and I know it isn't the first time it has flooded. It flooded back in 1996 as well.

The flood water has continued to climb steadily so I was not surprised to find today that the little building was well hidden below the muddy, icy flood water.

Here is is again. Can you spot that little building now? The other photos were taken as I stood on Oak street just south of the park.

This photo is taken from one block west of Oak on the intersection of 1st and 9th. As I looked east towards the rising water, I noticed that little building out there. It is a great way to gauge how hi and how quickly the water is rising.

Here you go, the earthen dike is finished. It is protecting these resident from the destructive flood water. This road is closed to all but residents of the area.

I am so proud of our city and how this has been handled. I want to thank ALL of the volunteers that stepped up and helped us. We never could have done it without you. Today I saw 7 South Dakota patrol cars right in the city. We have 1700 (I think) National Guard members here helping out too.

I tell you what, if Mayor Dennis Walaker ever runs for any other office, he has my vote. I didn't know him well before this happened, but after listening to his calm, in charge voice on the radio and seeing him in the news conferences - he's got it together and has done an amazing job.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Mar 28 - Flood Peak?

What a difference ONE week can make! The first photo is one I posted last weekend (Mar 21) from the south side of Main Avenue and from the Moorhead, MN side of the river. You can just see the flags flying and the bridge through the many trees. You can also see the lazy river winding through under the bridge.

The second photo? It is from the south side of the Main Avenue bridge (Mar 28), but from a closer vantage point, the bridge itself! The water is up to the bridge. I've pointed out some of the more familiar points on the bridge for those that have visited here before.
This is also take from the Moorhead side of the Main Avenue bridge. The freezing temps have calmed the rising river. I would take the cold over the flooding anytime. This walkway drops down to a road and walk path that normally follows the river. You can see the road in the first photo of today's post.
This is from the bridge looking east and where that closed sidewalk leads to. That is indeed a lamp post you see jutting from the flood water. Where I took the first photo from is under the river water.

It seems we are winning the battle. We never could have done it without the amazing amount of volunteers that have stepped in to help. There is no way to thank them all, but I do thank each and every one of them. My son lives near that river and was able to stay in his home because of the diligent effort of those volunteers. The National Guard, Fargo PD, Mayor Walaker and everyone else involved in this have gone beyond the call of duty and to the call of family. With all of their hard work and the drop back down to below freezing weather, it looks like the water has finally slowed... for now anyway. I don't think we're through this yet though. We went for a drive in the country south of Fargo and there is still a LOT of water out there and a lot of snow. At some point this all has to melt and we will do this all over again.

Here is a site to see the river levels and great photos of the river raising at Dike west, it is located at USGS Flood Tracking. The photos show the ND side of all of the photos I posted here and on March 16.

Flood photos from past years; http://www.ndsu.edu/fargo_geology/floodphotos.htm

Mar 27 - Drainage Ditch 27

I'll admit, I've been feeling pretty safe this week as I live in the south west part of Fargo right on the border of Fargo and West Fargo. The Red River is clear across town from me. I was listening to the radio at work and heard them talking about Drain 27 and how it was being diked due to rising water. I didn't know what it was, so I looked it up. It runs east and west and then turns south for a ways.

It is two blocks north of my house AND two blocks west! This body of water shown here is normally a little muddy trickle down in the bottom. So empty it couldn't even support mosquitoes! Yet here it is, the water is all the way to the top and climbing! You can see the sandbags on the right side of the photo, they've added several feet to the sides to accommodate the rushing, rising, icy, muddy water.

Here is a map showing where Drainage Ditch 27 is. Normally it is just a little, empty ditch. It was built to catch some of the overflow and help avoid flooding.

This year though, there is so much water that everything is full to the brim and in some places, over flowing. This last photo is the city adding just a little more protection to the dike around Drain 27. This is located north of 40th Ave south and west of 42nd St. (Just north of Ristreto's, Swansons and Microsoft)

Mar 26 - Old Tree

I headed out to get pics of the flooding while staying out of the way. That proved to be too difficult. Anywhere I wanted to go to get a photo of the action, there was just too much action for me to be there. The waters are climbing so fast.

This is north of Fargo. I was going to take a photo of the climbing water and the huge ice chunks as the river has completely left its banks and is spreading across the land. Instead I found this great old tree! It just seemed to fit.

Mar 25 - It's snowing

I cannot go out and take my usual pictures today. So, I opened my door and this is what we woke up to today. The river is still rising fast. The roads are treacherous with the rain we received last night. Then it turned to snow and we now have glare ice and blowing snow. The snow was basically gone.

This morning the channel 11 news crew ventured out 7 miles south of town to report on a levee that broke. The news crew was not sure if they were going to find a way back to town because of the icy roads and all the water! The national guard had to rescue a family with two children that had lost their home to the flood. It is getting dangerous here.

All schools have closed. Malls have closed. There are many communities around Fargo that have no water. There are places that need to boil their drinking water. Lift stations are failing. If you have never been in a flood, life basically stops as we know it. Now with the snow it just complicates things more.

Even with all of this, the city of Fargo is now 95% done with where they wanted to be for this flood. On Monday the volunteers made 450,000 sandbags. Tuesday the volunteers produced over 500,000 sandbags! One thing that you can say about a flood; all differences that people have with each other, no matter what they are, they are put aside. This has brought 1000s of people together in the same cause. Protect the city at all costs.

Mar 24 - Old Barn

Well in town there is water everywhere and people are sandbagging. We have volunteers coming from all over to help. The radio and news is full of flooding news. It was becoming too much. Here is a nice serene and dry scene for todays post. I was out driving in the country and came across it. I know it is north of Fargo and north of Georgetown, MN.

March 23 - Overland Flooding

When the spring thaws hit, the farmland around here disappears under a few inches to a few feet of water. As everything thaws, it pools in the little rivers and tributaries around here. They all seem to then lead to the Red River of the North.

In just a couple of days, this country dirt road will no longer be visible and this whole area will look like a lake.

Mar 22 - Water is rising

My daughter and I took a ride today. Spring thaw has indeed come early and the water is rising. We drove over to the Moorhead Center mall in Moorhead, MN. From there you can see the river as it flows under the Main Avenue bridge and the railway bridge. When the flood hits the water will rise up to almost touch the bottom of these bridges!

I crossed under the railway bridge shown in the first photo and came out pretty quickly on the south side of the Main Avenue bridge. That bridge is only a few years old. They raised it due to the 1997 flood. I think they raised it to accommodate a flood of 43 feet. Normally the river you see flowing below this bridge is about 14 feet or so. I took this photo from the Minnesota side of the river. If I would have turned to my left, I could have taken a photo of Dike West on the North Dakota side.

Mar 21 - Spring Thaw

Well, the fun has begun. Today was overcast, but the river is breaking up. We seem to be thawing early this year. The rivers here move very slowly. I should mention that the Red River of the North that goes through Fargo and divides Fargo, ND from Moorhead, MN flows north! Yep, you read that right... it runs north. The Nile is the only other river in the world that flows north.

Mar 20 - More Bison

Here is another one! I don't know where all of them are, but I'll keep searching. I believe after the project was over these were auctioned off. I'm not positive about that though. They are from the Herd About the Prairie project.

Mar 19 - Grazing Bison

This one is in downtown Fargo right in front of Atomic Coffee. I love how they placed him at that little bush. It looks like I've interrupted his grazing!

I looked on the Herd About the Prairie site, but I couldn't identify this one on the list. Maybe you can?

Thanks Andrea for letting me know this one is called "Nights in the Valley". There are more photos of these guys by local people that can be found at http://www.areaphotos.com/community/?page=thumbnails&gallery_id=44

March 18 Art

This is a bison and it is painted, but I don't know if it is one of the Herd About the Prairie project. I found these up on 7th Ave North in Fargo, ND

Mar 17 - Bison

There are a bunch of these creatively painted Bison all over town. They were part of the "Herd About The Prairie" project. We are home of the North Dakota State University (NDSU) Bison and I'm guessing that was behind these. I'm tired of snow photos and thought some color was in order!

I do not know the names or artists for these creatures, but I will try to find the info and post that as I find the various beasts. This one is located just across the river in Moorhead, Minnesota in front of the museum.

I found it. This one is Gogh-bison-go by Geri Burkhart-Weiner of Fargo, ND

Friday, March 27, 2009

Fargo Flood Pics 2009

These photos are NOT lakes or beaches. This is ALL farmland south of Fargo under a whole lot of flood water.


Monday, March 23, 2009

March - Fargo is flooding

Would you like to know what's going on around us? Here in Fargo we deal with a lot of spring run off every year, however, we don't usually have this much water! We did in '97, but this isn't as bad of weather, just as bad of water and run off. In this photo you see a backhoe building up the dike. This is a dirt mound follow a road between downtown Fargo and the quickly rising river. You can just see the river to the right of this photo. They water WILL reach up and lap at the top of this dirt wall.

Current Video - our local news went up in an airplane and took video of the flooding yesterday.

Fargo Flood Forecast Display Tool - http://ffdt.rrbdin.org/index.php

Fargo Flood Cam is HERE - Now realize what you are viewing is downtown Fargo and that normally you don't even notice the water there! It's a tiny little river wayyyy down 30' + lower than it is now!!

I've compiled a few links for those emailing me and asking me about the situation:

I realize I'm behind on my photo of the day blogging and I'll try to catch up here this week. I DO have photos, just haven't had the time. We are pretty consumed with the weather and flooding right now.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Mar 16 (76/365) Watch it grow

Well it is about that time of year. I thought I would start out by showing you this 40 foot tall measuring 'stick'. It looks pretty silly up on that hill of snow, right?

Now, see the next photo? That is the little river (Red River of the North) that runs north at the bottom of this little hill of snow. Yes, it runs north to Canada!

With this much snow and more expected, we will flood this Spring. I will continue taking photos so you can watch as the river overflows the banks and moves up this hill and climbs up this measuring device.

The 40 does indicate 40 feet of water is the maximum this area can hold. It is impressive. It (the river) moves from this very small slip of river (left), up over the banks, past where you now see a man walking along the bike path, over the parking lot (marked by the wooden stakes) and then up the hill and climbs the ruler.

It will also climb the banks on the other side of the river and be lapping at the doors of the houses you see over there! This parking lot is just to the west of the Red River and allows for a lot of parking and even a Farmers Market in the summer. It is at the bottom of the hill that the children are sledding down. So those sledding down the hill would end up down in the parking lot shown in the second photo. Too far for them to end up in the water, but just a very short walk from one to the other.

For more Fargo Flood information and pics, be sure to visit Chris' blog at
http://cbrown47.blogspot.com/ and leave him a comment to let him know you were there :)

UPDATE Fargo Flood Water - March 24, 2009
This is the SAME measuring device that you see in the first photo above and here - it is a large park here in Fargo. Notice the 40' mark in both photos? In the first photo people are sledding down the hill and into the parking lot.

In this photo, the parking lot and everything is under water. So far we are at about 30.83' and climbing. The top of the measuring device is at 40' - we are expecting the water to crest at 42' the last I heard. That is TWO feet above the top of this 'ruler'.... and over this protective, man made dike. This is called Dike East and is located near downtown Fargo (south of main ave).

When taking this photo the Main Avenue bridge is behind and to the left.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Mar 15 (75/365) Happy St. Patricks Day!

There is a cute little donut shop here in Fargo called Sandy's Donuts, named after the guy that opened it; Sandy Ostlund.

Krispy Kreme was in Fargo for a while, but they closed the doors last year. Sandy's is still going strong. They make all kinds of wonderful treats and are not limited to donuts. They have soup, sandwiches and delightful little treats like this little green guy here.

We stopped in there this past week to enjoy a small donut. Skyler was very tempted by the treat that was placed before him! You can just read it in his expression! Of course he did NOT get to take this lovely treat back to the table with him lol He was happy with a small glazed (his favorite) and a milk. I had this delicious little peanut butter frosted pastry. Chris had something chocolaty I'm sure.

Well, I almost was able to post a day without snow in a photo! You should see it outside! We hit about 40° today! It was awesome. The snow is more than half gone!

Mar 14 (74/365) Snow

This will probably be one of my last snow pictures for the season. We are supposed to start getting warmer weather this week. That means most of this snow will be gone in a few days.

I'll start posting flooding pics after that lol

This photo shows how deep the snow got. You can see the stairs that normally go from the ground up to the second story. Today however, they are not in use!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Mar 13 (73/365) More Snow

This is actually a two lane road
This is a big four wheel drive pickup

Not sure a photo can do it justice. We got an amazing amount of snow. You guys might really get tired of snow photos, but that's about all there is for me to take right now.

Unless I go back to taking photos IN my house! LOL Yeah, I'm getting a little tired of winter....

Mar 12 (72/365) - Snow Day

Fargo Snow Day

White glistens all around
On the trees and on the ground

Beauty for the eye to behold
Treacherous, the truth be told

Soft and fluffy and oh so white
Sparkling, blinding, very bright

Snowy white coat on everything
TWO snow days, a child's dream!

~ Tammey Brown

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Mar 11 (71/365) Day after the blizzard

Wow, we really got the snow! I went out with the camera to attempt and share with all of you what it was like here over the last two days. It's not that we got all that much snow, it's what the wind does with the snow!
The wind was blowing 45-60 miles an hour. The land around here is very flat so that meant the snow was constantly moving around. It also means that where the wind couldn't cause havoc, it dropped the most snow!

This is how you plow snow in such huge areas as this! There is a blade on the front much like a snow blower. Then it blows the snow out the top and away from the machine! They are pretty amazing to watch. I really enjoy it and the amount of snow they move is impressive!

The snow plows drive the roads and cut through the large drifts, then throw the snow off the side of the road. It is so amazing to see drifts four, five or even six feet deep! Here, to really show the depth of the snow, you can see a street sign. I figure those are pretty standard everywhere. Just find yourself a sign and stand next to it and then you'll know how deep this is!

Some roads are not as important as others. Those roads are done last, if at all. When you come up to a road covered in snow, you just keep going. You can see the tracks here from those that had been before us.

I have so many more photos from today! I didn't want to bore ya'll so I think I'll just upload them to my flickr.... probably my webshots.

I was asked when is Spring? When the snow is gone, we get flooding. After flooding is mosquito season, followed by Winter. It used to be that construction quickly followed flooding, but now construction is an all year round event. Spring is that week after the snow melts and before the mosquitoes hatch. (This is my guys enjoying the snow!)