By Anna Jauhola
The Red River and Two Rivers are both on their third crests of the spring, and causing the usual flooding problems in the county. Several roads are closed on the western edge of Kittson County in St. Vincent, Teien, North Red River and South Red River townships. And there are other areas where drivers need to watch for high water along the roadsides.
During the middle of last week, the Red River had not yet crested at Drayton and was expected to crest around 43 feet. The Red River at Pembina is expected to crest near the second highest record at 53 feet.
“My only concern is St. Vincent,” said Scot Olson, county emergency manager during the Tuesday, May 3 county commissioners meeting. “We did a couple of things to be proactive. I purchased extra sand and put it at the county shops with bags and shovels.”
Olson also procured 1,500 filled sandbags from Moorhead, Minn. He had 1,000 of them stored at the Hallock county shop and piled 500 of them at St. Vincent in case they are needed.
He also worked with the Crystal, N.D., fire department to bring 1,000 pallets of filled sandbags to Noyes to help protect the railyard.
County Engineer Andrea Weleski told the commission this flood season will likely look similar to the spring of 2020.
“So, I looked yesterday and 2020 cost us $32,000. We’re starting documentation forms. Michelle’s out taking pictures. It’ll be a clean-up year this year,” Weleski said.
In the meantime, Weleski wants the public to remember to not drive around barricades. It’s dangerous to drive through high water because you cannot see what that flowing water has done to the road underneath. Many times, there has been scouring and a road is washed out.
Weleski said she’s hoping to work on an online mapping tool as well, to help alert the public to which roads are closed. Right now, they keep a physical map in the office on which they highlight which roads are closed.
“We need a better way to get it out to the public. The only way they know which roads are closed is if they call and ask,” Weleski said.