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North Dakota Hams Brace for Flooding River

06/22/2011

As the Mouse River rises, residents in Minot, North Dakota, are under orders to immediately evacuate their homes. The river -- which originates south of Regina, Saskatchewan, flows through North Dakota and then heads north where it terminates in Manitoba -- has already started to flow into the streets of Minot. We have activated the North Dakota ARES® and RACES groups for support as of today, June 22 at 12 noon (CDT),” said North Dakota Section Manager Lynn Nelson, W0ND. “The mandatory evacuation is immediate and some 11,000 homeowners are told to leave now! The Mouse River is overflowing the dikes and officials are planning on blowing the sirens shortly.”

According to Nelson, the Souris Valley Amateur Radio Club, K0AJW, has set up a station at the Red Cross evacuation center, located at the Minot City Auditorium. “We are also in the process of building stations at Burlington School and Minot State University Dome to support the Red Cross effort,” he explained. “We have visited with Minot Mayor Curt Zimbelman as to our support capability, if we are called to assist in any way.”

Nelson said that even though the local repeater has a back-up generator, they will also be using HF: “We anticipate that we might have to use 3.937 MHz, as well as the repeater. Traffic in and out of the local area will be going out through this 80 meter frequency. “We also have easy access to generators at the Red Cross and for use away from the evacuation center.”

On Tuesday, Minot city officials held a press conference where Major General David Sprynczynatyk of the North Dakota National Guard spoke with reporters and citizens. “What I see right now is probably the most devastating in terms of the number of people directly impacted and what it will do to damage homes as water begins to overtop the levees and fill in behind,” he said. “I think this is going to be tough in terms of impact to the community as a whole, for Minot, Ward County and communities all up and down the river.” According The Minot Daily News, Sprynczynatyk has been involved in flood fighting for 40 years.

North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple pledged that all of the state’s resources have been made available to Minot and Ward County residents. Mayor Zimbelman said the city is planning secondary dikes in the fringe areas and will continue working until the water pushes us out of the area. “It’s pretty ugly,” said Alan Schlag, a hydrologist with the National Weather Service office in Bismarck. “We expect dikes to be overtopped, the river channel dikes, pretty much by 7 AM on Thursday.”  -- Thanks to The Minot Daily News for some information



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