Approximately 12,000 people were evacuated from the town of Minot, North Dakota. in advance of the Souris River overflowing flood levees. City officials ordered all residents, even those outside the evacuation zone, “to move belongings to an upper level of your home.”
National Weather Service Hydrologists raised their forecast after the swollen river spilled out of its regular channel and cut down a valley to Lake Darling, the last flood-control point north of Minot, said hydrologist Allen Schlag in Bismarck, N.D.
In response, the Army Corps of Engineers is releasing more water from Lake Darling, with the rate expected to reach 26,000 cubic feet a second by early Friday. The Souris, a branch of the Mississippi, typically flows through the lake at 135 cubic feet a second this time of year, Mr. Schlag said.
Previous estimates for the crest were between 1,562 and 1,563 feet above sea level. The crest is now predicted to reach 1,564.5 feet above sea level by 1 p.m. Sunday and last for two days, according to National Weather Service data. That crest would break a 130-year-old record by more than six feet. The flooding could put some parts of the city under as much as 15 feet of water.
Heavy rainfall and melting snow has bloated the river, which flows down from Canada.
Suburban communities around Minot are also bracing for a flood. Downstream in Sawyer, N.D 50 residents have been evacuated as the Army Corps of Engineers race to make levees higher.
In Burlington, N.D., flooding was not expected to threaten homes prior to the Weather Services new predictions. When the news came that a bigger surge of water was coming, the city halted work on the levees because they would be unable to complete it before the crest.