Red River flood is finally over

Flood gauge
A flood gauge along the Red River in Fargo marks the height of the great 1997 flood, where the river crested at a height of more than 39.5 feet. This year's flood set an all-time record with a crest at 40.82 feet.
MPR Photo/Than Tibbetts

The National Weather Service says the Red River has dropped below flood stage in Fargo-Moorhread after a record 61 days.

The river rose above its 18-foot flood stage March 20, and dropped to 17.9 feet early Wednesday morning, the weather service said. It was expected to fall slowly to 17.5 feet over the next week.

"It's long time, but we made it through to a happy ending," National Weather Service hydrologist Mike Lukes said.

Residents of Fargo N.D. and neighboring Moorhead, Minn., scrambled to save their homes, using millions of sandbags to fight off two crests of the Red River -- the first at a record 40.82 feet and the second at 34 feet.

Flooding from heavy rain and snow led to a disaster in March and April, closing roads across North Dakota and northwestern Minnesota, and forcing some residents out of their homes. The flooding was linked to the deaths of at least three people and thousands of farm and ranch animals.

The weather service said the 61-day flood in Fargo-Moorhead was seven days longer than the number of days the Red was above flood stage in 2006.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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