Email update from my daughter in Fargo, ND about flooding

Graph of water level:,1,1,1,1,1

Just received the following email this morning from my daughter:

"Hello Everyone!

Just thought I'd send along a little map & an update on the flood…contingencyplan1[1].pdf

If you open the .pdf file attachment you can see where Eric & I are located at with regards to the river & flooding. We're in section #2. Yep, section two! So everyone cross your fingers that the weather cooperates and the dikes & levees hold.

We've got all our stuff up on the highest level of our house (above any level at which the water would be able to reach) and have clogged all our basement bathroom & laundry drains in case the sewer backs up, which often times happens in flood situations due to all the water pressure and the lift stations not being able to handle it.

It's pretty crazy to see but this small city looks like a war zone. There are helicopters flying all over, military vehicles everywhere, reserve people in uniforms walking the levees & dikes to monitor them, huge trucks hauling dirt, big equipment digging up school soccer fields for the clay & dirt, semi's hauling giant FEMA generators & pumps. The city has all but shut down completely. It's very surreal.

The crest of 40-41 or so feet is supposed to last between 3-7 days approximately and this, they hope, is the first day of the crest. So it won't be until the middle of next week that we'll know if everyoneโ€™s hard work paid off. (Just to give you some perspective, the Red River usually only flows at 14 feet. Our house is at 37.5 feet.)

All the sandbagging is done so there isn't anything for anyone do around here which is almost worse. While sandbagging you can keep your mind & body busy and not have to just sit & WAIT! It's a bit unnerving. We're both very tired and sore from moving furniture, making sandbags and laying sandbags in 20 degree weather. Who knew wet sand bags could freeze into 30-40 lb. frozen hamburger patty like forms – not the best to try and hold back water and no fun to pass back & forth! People were beating them with baseball bats and throwing them on the concrete several times to soften them up. It's definitely been a wild ride that we hope will end soon to our advantage.

Thank goodness Eric & I had the sense early this year to get flood insurance but as you all probably know it's not easy getting $ from FEMA so we're hoping we won't have to use it. We're both confident that we'll stay dry because of the contingency dikes they just built yesterday & today in case the main dikes & levees break. Thankfully we're on the right side of them. Others are not so lucky. So we've been able to take a deep breath once those were in place.

Anyway, we're going to stick it out until they tell us there is a voluntary evacuation. Our friends out of town have our dogs so we don't have to worry about them and we've got bags packed so that, if and when, we can just jump in the cars and leave. Hopefully we won't need to but all we can do now is wait & see.

I'll keep you all posted or you can go to or too."

Flooded homes in South Fargo

Flooded grain silos on a farm

Sandbagging efforts at FargoDome

Pictures courtesy of AP.

About pam

I am retired from real 9 to 5 jobs. I do my artwork and occasionally write poetry. In September 2010, I moved to Fargo, ND after spending 60 years in Phoenix, Arizona. Now, five years later, July 2015, I'm back in Arizona. And yes, I love the heat!
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53 Responses to Email update from my daughter in Fargo, ND about flooding

  1. Dudley says:


  2. PainterWoman says:

    Thanks Linda, Andy and Annette. My daughter and her husband are pretty confident they are far enough away….that is, if the levees hold for the next week. Her boss and his wife have been staying with them because there house is much closer to the river and their particular area has been evacuated.

  3. L2D2 says:

    How scary, Pam. I heard where Obama had declared this a disaster area. I will say a prayer for the safety of your daughter and family, and for the others there as well. Floods and fires are devastating. Just hope their home will be safe.

  4. SummerAngel says:

    The pictures look like scenes from Hollywood movies. My heart goes out to your daughter and the others living through this disaster. They will be in my thoughts and prayers. :heart:

  5. L2D2 says:

    Keep us posted.

  6. PainterWoman says:

    Linda, definitely I will.Darko, my fingers are crossed too.I am thankful that the entire community came together in the sandbagging efforts and that everyone is prepared. Even though there will be much property damage, I doubt there will be any lives lost to the waters coming in like in New Orleans during hurricane Katrina when the levees broke. But there, it was the hurricane and the force of the ocean that caused the levees to fail. Plus, many people refused to evacuate. It is much different near the Red River. They see it rising and everyone takes action.

  7. ellinidata says:

    sandbagging continues,our prayers continue,Gods blessing will continue too…. I cross my fingers and wait…My thoughts are with your kids,all in harms way and you Pam *hugs*

  8. gdare says:

    I cross my fingers for them. When river grows like this…..

  9. I_ArtMan says:

    if i thought i could stand the heat i would move to belize… sorry, that was just my ingrained frivolity speaking. the thought that keeps coming up in my mind is… why would anyone ever live in a flood plain? even if it only floods once in a hundred years. i just don't understand how dense people can be. nobody ever schooled them to be realistic. oh, now i am railing…. i do hope your daughter and her family will be spared any hardship.

  10. PainterWoman says:

    Thanks Angeliki. I'm due to visit the first of May and everything will probably still be a soggy mess but I can't wait to get there so I can give them big hugs.

  11. PainterWoman says:

    Scott, I am amazed at the community effort. The entire city stopped and everyone started sandbagging. If I thought I could stand the cold in Fargo, I'd move there.

  12. I_ArtMan says:

    we are all watching and waiting and hoping for the best. we see on the news how the people have rallied to protect each other's homes, and their own. we pray for them. nature is frighteningly impartial. but the preparations should be effective. their work will save many from disaster. that's the main thing.

  13. ricewood says:

    Best wishes and hoping it will all come out the way they expect

  14. PainterWoman says:

    Thanks Allan….me too.

  15. Dacotah says:

    I hope Fargo will be ok, just heard the forcast tonight is for another 7 inches of snow. :faint:

  16. Dacotah says:

    Pam, did you see the You Tubes video's on the flood?

  17. L2D2 says:

    I think people living in Calif. are either nuts or very brave.:D I am convinced that if humanity lasts that long, Californians will one day be living in Arizona, and Arizona will have beach front property to sell, as the saying goes.:lol: But I do not think people thought that way when they were settling these places. They just stopped where they found a good place and built homes–they didn't have much science back then. They built along watercourses for ease of transportation and to have a good, reliable water supply.

  18. ellinidata says:

    I had a conversation with my oldest last night on "Why people live in unsafe areas…".It is also unthinkable to me that people live in areas with volcanos.Sometimes I wonder if it is an inner need to challennge nature.Nature always wins …I hope and pray in this case the determination and unity of all these amazing people does win instead….I am following the developments and I pray for the best :heart:

  19. PainterWoman says:

    Scott, I don't know why people move into flood plains. I think people find a place they want to live, see that the last flood was years and years ago and think it won't happen again. Carol, yes, I've seen some of the videos. I can hardly believe there's going to be more snow but, then again, it's still winter for you guys.

  20. Dacotah says:

    Supose to be spring for us. ๐Ÿ™‚

  21. Huong Lan says:

    Hi Pam, I hope the flood will be over very soon. In Hue, every year we expect about 3 floods. I just get used to it.Big hugs for the people in Fargo. :love:Lan

  22. lokutus-prime says:

    Hi Pam! – I'm following the news and I send you prayers and hope and wishes for you and Andy and Annette. Pam, also big hugs from me for you and everyone affected. I'm thinking of you all and you stay in my prayers & thoughts :up:Loku

  23. PainterWoman says:

    Angeliki, same with areas that have tornados. Besides having the Red River, North Dakota also is in Tornado Alley, albeit the far northern edge of it. Linda, I've heard those stories about Arizona becoming beach property if the San Andreas Fault causes half of California to fall into the ocean. I don't think it'll happen in my lifetime though. Carol, it does seem like it should be spring there but Fargo acts like it is still in the throws of winter.Lan and Loku, thank you. Last word was that the river has receded to 39.21 feet but they had snow all night and another winter storm with a lot of wind expected this week. I'll be talking with my daughter again today sometime.

  24. Suntana says:

    I'll echo what your daughter said, Pam. It does sound and look extremely surreal. I heard on TV this morning that the river level was now like … 37 feet and dropping and quickly at that? Having to do all that sandbagging in 20 degree weather … Brrrrrr! :insane: :ko:

  25. PainterWoman says:

    Carlos, just spoke to her briefly a few minutes ago. She is at work so at least some people are going back to work. She works for a very large 'snack' company. Gotta keep those snacks moving. ๐Ÿ˜† I don't do well in the cold so I can't imagine that I would have been much help in the sandbagging after she told me how much the bags weighed. However, she said I could have been one of the people holding the bags open or passing out water or snacks. That I could have done but bundled up like an eskimo. Haven't looked at the news in the last couple of hours so the river may very well be receding. Thank heaven for that.

  26. L2D2 says:

    My idea of hell of earth is to be freezing cold and wet at the same time–oh my aching bones.:( Wonderful how people can put aside differences and work together for the common good–remember the feeling in America after 911? Present news sounds pretty good, so can they be cautiously optimistic?

  27. PainterWoman says:

    Linda, as of 4:15 pm Fargo time, the Red River water level is at 38.88 ft. It is receding. I added a link to a graph at the top of my post.

  28. L2D2 says:

    Well, hope it doesn't rise again with snow melt.

  29. Dacotah says:

    Well, Minot is still having cold weather and snow. ND always does through the first part of spring. ๐Ÿ™‚

  30. studio41 says:

    I hope all will be well with your kids, Pam. Glad to hear it is all receding! God bless.

  31. PainterWoman says:

    The River is now at 37.86 feet and everyone is hoping that it lowers even more before the most recent snow melts.

  32. wickedlizard says:


  33. studio41 says:

    did they get more the last 24 hours? we are getting some, no accumulation, but slippery nevertheless

  34. studio41 says:

    in Fargo? we even had a little hail today. snow, ice… I hope Fargo doesn't get anymore. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

  35. PainterWoman says:

    Yup, in Fargo.

  36. PainterWoman says:

    Yes, but I don't know how much has accumulated. Snow is expected all tonight and tomorrow, then also for the weekend.

  37. Chas4 says:

    I had only herd of the flooding in the news but not picturesI guess you could say water water everywhere

  38. PainterWoman says:

    Chas, you can certainly say that again. Luckily my daughter and her husband did not have to evacuate. They had been on alert as they were the next section that would have been flooded had the river risen any higher. It is going down slowly and is now at 37.02, just a few inches from yesterday.

  39. lovinmalamutes says:

    Glad the danger is passing.:) Still praying.:angel:

  40. edwardpiercy says:

    What they need is a huge arctic front move down from Canada to freeze the river.Of course, I guess that would only be a temporary solution.I wish them luck, Pam. :up: :wizard:

  41. PainterWoman says:

    Ed, I don't know about an arctic freeze but they've had many more inches of snow the last 36 hours. Doris, me too. I'm still hoping it lowers even more before the new snow starts melting.

  42. Moabdul says:

    This is scary and heart breaking. I know what you might be feeling, and I wish there was something to do, from where I am, other than praying.

  43. lovinmalamutes says:

    This is where faith is really tested, as we can do nothing but wait, and of course Pray. ๐Ÿ™‚ God will come through.:angel: :happy:

  44. PainterWoman says:

    Yes Mays, very scary indeed. Doris, I agree.I haven't checked the weather there yet today but I did get a short email from her yesterday. She said that there had been two deaths but not from drowning. Two of the volunteers doing sandbagging had heart attacks. Those two gave their all in a very sad way.

  45. SummerAngel says:

    Sorry to hear that Pam. Hopefully the worst is over and there will be no more deaths.

  46. FIFINELEB says:

    I hope you're gonna have good news from there. A real disaster .We're only toy in the hands of Destiny. Just like the earthquake near Rome in Italy with 100 casualties. See you,Pam

  47. PainterWoman says:

    Annette, I think the worst is over. Jean, my visit there in May should be a good one, although I'm sure still soggy. The three of us will be driving to Chicago, IL for another daughter's graduation for her Master's in Special Ed.

  48. studio41 says:

    did they say there would be another crest coming?

  49. sarcoptes says:

    Thanks for the link to this place in your blogg. Mhm, when these things happens I always have to nod my head in respect for Mother Earth… Humans are smart, but the Earth always give and take what it wants… Sometimes it brings sadness, but mostly it bring luck, smiles and positive minds. Thanks for sharing ๐Ÿ˜Ž

  50. PainterWoman says:

    Jill, I'm so sorry, never even saw your last comment. Another crest did not happen. Of course, now everything is back to normal.Originally posted by sarcoptes:

    Earth always give and take what it wants… Sometimes it brings sadness, but mostly it bring luck, smiles and positive minds.

    It sure did this time but no lives lost. Just think an entire city was brought together in the sandbagging effort. It's really kind of mind boggling.

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