North Dakota flood waters receding

The Associated Press

MINOT, N.D. — The Souris River began a slow retreat from Minot on Sunday with no further flood damage in the city, but officials warned danger would remain for several days until the highest water passed.

“We’re still at full alert until the water starts going down,” said Shannon Bauer, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. “It’s still a war.”

The city’s levees were reinforced with plastic sheeting to withstand sustained exposure to high water. The Souris is forecasted to recede nearly two feet by Wednesday.

More than 4,000 homes and hundreds of businesses flooded when the Souris flowed over levees Friday. Bauer said crews had dealt only with isolated problems since then, including a leaky dike that was reinforced Saturday night.

About a fourth of Minot’s 40,000 residents were evacuated early last week in anticipation of flooding. Smaller cities along the Souris also warned their residents to leave.

On Sunday, North Dakota National Guard soldiers were monitoring a submerged pedestrian bridge in Minot to make sure it didn’t break off in the river channel. The bridge has been trapping debris and could harm levees.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has approved Burleigh and Ward counties, which have some of the state’s most extensive flooding damage, for individual assistance aid.

Another potential source of aid is the North Dakota Legislature, which is likely to consider flood-relief measures during a special session this fall. The state has a $386 million “rainy day” fund and $136 million in school aid reserves that could be used for disaster relief if lawmakers agree.