Fargo Floodwater Breaks Record, Erodes Dike

Police evacuate 150 homes amid 'significant leak'
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Mar 27, 2009 8:50 AM CDT
A volunteer uses a pump to remove water that is seeping through the sandbag dike as the Red River continues to rise along River Drive yesterday in Fargo, N.D.    (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
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(Newser) – The Fargo-area Red River broke a 112-year-old record this morning and was eroding a dike south of downtown, forcing authorities to rouse occupants of about 150 homes and begin evacuating them in the middle of the night, the AP reports. The Red River has risen to 40.32 feet, more than 22 feet above flood stage and inches more than the previous high water mark of 40.10 feet set in 1897.

"It's not like there's a wall of water going through," said a policeman. "It's just a significant leak" in the dike, putting its integrity in question. Officials in the city of 92,000 vowed to build dikes higher, but there was a growing sense that the best efforts might not be enough. Thousands of volunteers and hundreds of national guardsmen have been working to shore up the dikes with sandbags. “We want to go down swinging if we go down," said Fargo’s mayor.