“What I see right now is probably the most devastating in terms of the number of people directly impacted and what will likely be the damage to homes as the water begins to overtop the levees and fill in behind,” said National Guard Commander Dave Sprynczynatyk.
This year’s flooding and its potential impact is the worst the area has seen in nearly four decades. In 1969, the Souris River reached 1555.4 feet; however, this time around, it could reach 1,563 feet. This year has also been marked by the evacuation of 10,000 residents after heaving flooding of the Souris River; however, they were allowed to return, remaining on high alert.
Businesses affected by the high waters include two nuclear plants in Nebraska along the Missouri River. The Fort Calhoun plant closed on April 7 for a refueling outage and operators chose not to restart it until flooding has subsided. Although the plant is protected by a berm measuring eight feet high and 16 feet wide, two feet of water was able to make its way into some areas of the plant. The other affected plant is Cooper Nuclear Station, which closed June 19 for “an unusual event.”
Although the flood levels are beginning to fall, it has been determined that at least three area schools will be unusable for the upcoming school year. Debris removal is still occurring, as well as the construction of mobile homes for flood evacuees.
As of July 16, more than $20 million worth of federal and state disaster assistance has been provided for N.D. families and businesses. More than 8,000 local residents have registered with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).