Levees going up in Fargo to protect from flood waters

Levee construction in Fargo
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers constructing a levee near downtown Fargo to protect the city against the rising Red River on Saturday, April 27, 2013.
MPR Photo/Conrad Wilson

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers spent the day Saturday building levees in Fargo to protect against the rising Red River.

Work crews molded truck load after truck load of clay into a two-story levee along the banks of the Red River near Fargo, N.D.

Brian Walker, who lives in Moorhead, was watching the levee construction with his two sons.

"I don't know how the people put up with it. It's a huge expense," he said. "But the risk that you're taking by not having it there, it's worth wasting the money, to me. ... In some people's eyes that might be a waste of money. But in other people's eyes this is a necessity."

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The river is already over its banks. But forecasters don't predict record high water this year. With warming temperatures this weekend, it's possible the river could rise by as much as four or five feet per day.

Jeff Makowski, metrologist with the National Weather Service in Grand Forks, says there are still some questions about how high the river will rise.

"The main uncertainty in the forecast has to deal with just how much of the water from the snow melt is infiltrating into the soil versus how much is running off directly into the river."

The Red River is expected to crest between 37 and 39 feet sometime during the middle of next week.