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Thousands Flee Fargo Flooding

By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 27, 2009 5:47 PM CDT
Thousands Flee Fargo Flooding
Paige Hayer steps off of a U.S. Coast Guard air boat after being rescued from her home by Valley Water Rescue as the Red River continues to rise, Friday, March 27, 2009, in Briarwood, N.D.    (Carolyn Kaster)

Thousands of shivering, tired Fargo residents got out while they could today, and others prayed that miles of sandbagged levees would hold as the surging Red River threatened to unleash the biggest flood North Dakota's largest city has ever seen. The crest is expected tomorrow evening, when the ice-laden river could climb as high as 43 feet, nearly 3 feet higher than the record set 112 years ago.

Meanwhile, National Guard troops fanned out in the bitter cold to inspect floodwalls for leaks and weak spots. The freezing weather froze sandbags solid, turning them into what townspeople hoped would be a watertight barrier. The floodwaters may not begin receding before Wednesday, creating a lingering risk of a catastrophic failure in levees put together mostly by volunteers. "The only thing now is divine intervention," one resident said. (More flood stories.)

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