Water tops Minot, N.D., dikes as residents seem resigned to major flooding
Minot's Troy Erickson and his neighbors have built a dike around their homes and plan to ride out the flood, he says.
June 22nd, 2011
02:25 PM ET

Water tops Minot, N.D., dikes as residents seem resigned to major flooding

[Updated at 2:25 p.m. ET] Sirens were sounding Wednesday in Minot, North Dakota, urging residents to evacuate in the face of major flooding.

The sirens came on the heels of news that water had begun flowing over the city's dikes, which are leaking in some places.

[Posted at 1:52 p.m. ET] Residents in Minot, North Dakota, appear resigned to face major flooding as water has now begun flowing over the city's dikes, which are leaking in some places.

Mayor Curt Zimbelman told a local radio station at about 11 a.m. local time (noon ET) that he expects the evacuation alarms to sound within the hour. There are roughly 12,000 people in the evacuation zone in and around Minot.

Residents in the community have been given until Wednesday evening to evacuate because of what state Emergency Services spokeswoman Cecily Fong called "historic proportions of water." There are also concerns that the Souris River may be rising more rapidly than expected, Fong said.

The National Weather Service predicted record flooding as heavy area rains and dam releases cause the river to swell at Minot.

The Souris River, which locals call "The Mouse" after the French translation, flows through the center of town, and there are several homes and businesses along its low-lying banks.

Fearing the main levees won't hold back the waters, emergency workers have begun constructing local levees around a school and the Broadway Street bridge, a main thoroughfare in town.

Residents appear to be heeding evacuation warnings. In a sign that they're taking the flooding seriously, some residents are pulling up carpets because it will be easier to remove now than it will be after their homes are inundated with water.

Troy Erickson, 44, a lifelong North Dakota resident who has lived in Minot since 1995, lives across the street from the perimeter of the evacuation zone and said he plans to ride out the storm.

His neighbor has a bucket loader, and they have distributed several loads of sand and gravel around four houses, which are home to 13 people, he said. They have "lowered a couple hundred sandbags" on top of the mixture, he said.

"We've got more sandbags coming to have just in case we need to build it higher," Erickson said. "It if happens, it happens."

He said he's "a little bit" frightened because he's never been in this situation before, though he was a toddler during the flood of 1969.

soundoff (172 Responses)
  1. dave

    These people live in a flood plain and have known about this for years, sad, but they chose to live where they do...

    June 22, 2011 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Me

      Do you live in a town with a river? Of course you do. STFU and have come compassion.

      June 22, 2011 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cody

      I live here and it is not a flood plain,no one chose to live in the flood zones because no one ever thought it would flood again. It was never expected to flood since they built up the dikes after the 69' flooding.

      June 22, 2011 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sheri

      Yes, we choose to live where we live, but that doesnt not mean our homes mean nothing to us. If you lived in Tornado valley and you got hit by a tornado..how would you feel if you just read the words you put from someone else. .Screw off buddy

      June 22, 2011 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Stanford

      Floods happen in the same places year after year – How many times are we supposed to rebuild for you? Move people, don’t live there anymore. And NO I don’t live near a river; they flood all the time!

      June 22, 2011 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Paul

      This is absolute bologna. I lived in Minot, ND, for over 25 years and the river has never flooded. This is the first time Minot will have a flood since 1969...that's 42 floodless years. And the city has enormous dikes that would have protected the city had they been around in 1969. This is unprecedented flood that is smashing the 500-year flood projections and is setting records for the most water the area has EVER seen.

      Please quit talking when you have no idea what you are talking about. Nobody in Minot "chose to live" in a flood zone. It isn't. Maybe one day something unprecedented will happen in your area and you'll understand how stupid you sound when people who have no idea what they are talking about say, "You deserve it."

      June 22, 2011 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      Some of us do not get the luxury since we are assigned there for the military. SO do some research before you open your hole thank you...First Amendment at Work!

      June 22, 2011 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • J

      This has been the highest level since 1955 – if you care to make a comment please do your research. Prayers for North Dakota – the state of compassion and joy.

      June 22, 2011 at 3:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • kevin

      For those of you who think we chose to live here the only reason i chose to live here is because my family was stationed here in 1993 by the USAF to protect the rights of ignorant people like you right to say stupid things. It was not by choice but by necessity and not all of us can afford to live in other parts of town. things arent as simple when your the person going through something unless you have ever been in minot(my-not) you have no idea what you are talking about. as for other more intelligent people thank you for your prayers and help as an evacuee i appreciate it.

      June 22, 2011 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • NDsoldier

      Hey Dave,
      You see eveyone's comment between yours and this one? They are verbally slapping your in your ugly face. Good day to you David Marie.

      June 22, 2011 at 4:17 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Ted

    It’s a little rough and folks do have questions about the event. HOWEVER, the Corps, state and local officials, along with common citizens are handling this very well, and united with one another. Obama has made disaster declarations, and more are expected. US congressmen and Senators are watching closely. Also, this river connects a number of states counties and towns. The boarders here have little meaning. This is the heartland and people are working together to fight this. Please cut out the government slams, the conspiracy theories, and all that other BS being spewed about this. Pray, help, or shush.

    June 22, 2011 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Me

      Just in time for FEMA to say that ND doesn't get any more aid.

      June 22, 2011 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Julia

      Thank you for some sanity and decency. I couldn't believe the craziness I was reading.

      June 22, 2011 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
  3. NoDak

    I live in North Dakota... I have helped neighbors, friends and strangers move out, build dikes and strip their houses down to nothing. THe sad part is that FEMA ruled that there was not enough dmage to allow for individual assistance for home owners... on top of that they stated that the maximum that any individual could recieve if they declared a disaster would be $30k... yes, that is not a typo, only $30k after a person loses everything.

    North Dakotan's are resilient and will join hands to help each other find hope and push on to pick up the pieces after the water begins to dry. But, please keep these people in mind as we complain about the simple and trivial problems in our regular daily lives. These people have been fighting the flood for 3 months already.

    June 22, 2011 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Me

      Agreed. Not the first time FEMA did this. Wyoming was under a drought declaration one year yet a huge storm dumped 14 inches of rain in Kaycee, and FEMA told them to go to h**l because it just can't flood during a drought.

      June 22, 2011 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
  4. dutchboy

    Those who are staying behind, will they foot the bill when they need to be rescued? Are there any children that they're putting in danger? If so, I wonder if they could be prosecuted for child endangerment.

    June 22, 2011 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Randy

    Oh please do not be idiots. "it is Obama's fault!! " How dumb can you get. I know you are a Republican but still use a little brain. As far as the presidents wife occasionally being out of the country helping with international relations, so was every other presidents wife who cared. That's her job. If she was here when every small town had a problem she would never go anywhere. Republicans think it is just fine to give millions of American $ to oil companies who have made BILLIONS off Americans backs and tax brakes for the very rich, That's Republican "values"

    June 22, 2011 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
  6. DarwinsRight

    heh heh heh heh.....

    June 22, 2011 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Marky

    No they will not get much help as the Republicans would never agree to helping them.
    Now if it was an oil company or if they were very very rich then the Republicans would help for sure.
    Republicans help the rich get richer and the middle class get poorer.
    Why would anyone who was not very rich be a Republican?

    June 22, 2011 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • not_rich

      You have no idea why someone would choose to be Republican without being rich, really? If you think our government is doing a bang up job, perhaps more government sounds good. Some of us think they stink at managing our business, we want less.

      June 22, 2011 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Stanford

      So Not Rich – Why are you a republican? What do you think they have ever done to help working?

      June 22, 2011 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • not_rich

      Stanford – do tell! How have the Democrats helped me?

      June 22, 2011 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Ginalee

    We in South Dakota are praying for you.

    June 22, 2011 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Alex

    I'm guessing that because North Dakota is mostly white and quite well-off compared to the rest of the country, Obama and/or the federal government will do nothing to help. Sad, but true. But, you know what? The people of North Dakota are resilient and proud and will rise from the waters if they have to without help from anyone. It's a place where people who are out mowing their yards or raking up leaves wave "hello" as you drive through their neighborhoods. And, I don't even live there! They are friendly, caring and generous in a time when no one trusts anyone anymore. Not even to say hello or wave. My heart goes out to these good people.

    June 22, 2011 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • kevin

      WOW you all need to quit making this political people. The government will help where it can and we will help each other. The governement wont do everything for us and we wont be totally alone in this you got to realize that a balance is what most people can expect. it will all work out please stop turning the situation i and thousands of others are going through into some kind of comment against our president our government or anyone who is trying to help. It is obvious that a lot people hide there bigotry in being angry at our president. like him or not he is doing one thing that previous presidents havent done he at least is trying. anyway its not always about black and white republican or democrat.......we are americans more importantly we are human beings. Its time we realize that despite our differences we are all part of the same family, the human family. And guess what families help each other.

      June 22, 2011 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
  10. i b a North Dakotan for life

    I cannot believe some of the comments from you people on here. You have no right to judge us! We realize we are in a flood zone and we KNOW flooding occurs in this state, but we choose to live here and fight this year after year! We are proud of our heritage and we are proud of where we are from, that is why we stay! If you have nothing supportive to say for the people of Minot and surrounding areas in this difficult time, then you best not say anything at all. We know already! But we choose to live here and for that we are strong and we will get through this. I was evacuated in the flood of 2009 in Fargo, North Dakota from the hospital less than an hour after my daughter was born. It was the most memorable experience I have ever had and I will never forget it. I was out this year sandbagging and helping my community from the flood of 2011 here in Fargo, it's what we do, we help each other and we help other communities fight, it's what we do. I am proud to be from North Dakota and God bless Minot, may they stay strong and safe!

    June 22, 2011 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Snuffy

    OH MY GOD...There is not ONE WORD in this article about any kind of assistance asked for or declined. All of you people who are ranting about Obama doing this or not doing that don't need a flood to find a reason to dump on him. I'm also willing to bet that you are the first to screech that the Federal Gov't is too in your lives anyway. Make up your minds...do you want the Feds in or out of your lives. It's a natural act (rendered by God's magnificent earthly system) that is heartbreaking, but back off the Obama rants, and do something productive like donate to organizations that can help these folks right now.

    June 22, 2011 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • ForRealz

      I couldn't agree more Snuffy. Very well said. Last week Government was too big. This week, when you're in trouble, Government is not going enough.

      June 22, 2011 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Point(s) of Information

    Maybe some points of information regarding the disaster declaration process are in order.
    State and Federal officials conduct a preliminary damage assessment (PDA) [this implies this is conducted AFTER the disaster event].
    The GOVERNOR initiates the process through the regional FEMA office, per the Stafford Act.
    It must be demonstrated that the severity and magnitude of the disaster is beyond the capabilities of the State and the local government(s) and that Federal assistance is necessary. Normally, the PDA is completed prior to the submission of the Governor's request; however, when an obviously severe or catastrophic event occurs, the Governor's request may be submitted prior to the PDA. Nonetheless, the Governor must still make the request.
    Based on the Governor's request, the President may declare that a major disaster or emergency exists, thus activating Federal programs to assist in the response and recovery effort.
    Not all programs, however, are activated for every disaster. The determination of which programs are activated is based on the needs found during damage assessment.
    Some declarations will provide only individual assistance or only public assistance.

    June 22, 2011 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Big Game James

    Oops it's cloudy. Where's Obama? I think I smell smoke. Where's Obama? When YOU want him to do something for YOU, then you are looking for him. If it was business as usual you could care less! Stop looking for politicians to save you and get behind the local fire/rescue, police and other emergency workers and form a united front! Are you just going to sit there and give up? If you have so many issues with Obama why would you want him involved? I thought there was a cry for "less government" out there. Thought folks were looking to "take their country back?" Well, get to taking. Sandbags and some major elbow grease can be helpful! Where's the warrior spirit? I thought this was where the 'Real' Americans live. Well show us (and yourselves) what you got!! Blaming Obama is just a cop out for not taking control of your own destiny.

    June 22, 2011 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • ForRealz


      June 22, 2011 at 3:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jimmie James NDak.

      Really!!! You better get your head out of a** and out of the clouds!!! I was born and raised in North Dakota. No where in this disaster did we asked you or anyone for your help or your opinion! We will stand as a state- not just a small town. We have been economically supporting jobs for people who are not even from here and this is what we get. Karma's a B....H- hate to be you and all the others who are getting sick pleasure of our disaster. Keep your BS to your self and get over it.

      June 22, 2011 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
  14. ELH

    Let's just eliminate everyone who lives in an area that might get hit by a natural disaster, you know, earthquake, tsunami, mud/land slide, forest fire, tornado, hurricane, flood, volcano, blizzard, ice storm, whatever.

    "Hello, anybody home?" "Hello, hello?" " I guess they are all gone. I'd better turn out the lights."

    June 22, 2011 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Minnesota Friend

    The problem is with farm subsudies and practices. Dig drainage ditches to drain swamps and catch runoff and bury darin tile and don't expect that to affect runoff? Blame the greedy farmers and politicians.

    June 22, 2011 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
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