Fargo to begin filling sandbags in case of Red River flood

Fargo opens Sandbag Central
Volunteers operate sandbag-filling machines at Fargo's Sandbag Central, a warehouse just northwest of downtown, in 2019.
Dan Gunderson | MPR News

A city building dubbed Sandbag Central will soon be open for business as Fargo leaders prepare for spring flooding along the Red River, the city administrator said Monday night.

Bruce Grubb told city commissioners of plans to fill 250,000 sandbags in order to protect the city to 41 feet, which would be 23 feet over flood stage. The latest outlook from the National Weather Service shows a 10 percent probability that the river will reach 39 feet in the Fargo and Moorhead, Minn. area.

KFGO radio reported that Grubb called the chance of a severe flood “a flip of the coin" and added that the city would rather “err on the side of caution.” Volunteers filled hundreds of thousands of sandbags last year for anticipated flooding that never materialized.

Sandbag Central is located in a building that is normally a parking garage for garbage trucks. Plans are to begin sandbag operations on March 10.

Depending on the weather in the next several weeks, it’s possible Fargo could see “high water” on the Red River as soon as the middle of March, according to assistant city engineer Nathan Boerboom.

The weather service plans to update its flood outlook on Thursday.

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