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Flood Prevention

There are a myriad of ways to prevent floods. The creation of flood plains and winding streams
are two of the best ways to hinder the accumulation of water by providing a route for the
drainage of water. Also, the protection of wetlands helps to maintain a natural drainage system to
provide a place for the excess water to gather. Such devices allow the water to evaporate before
it can accumulate, creating flooding conditions.

Levees also impede the collecting of water. Levees are embankments composed of soil and
earthen material that are used to prevent annual flooding in many areas. With a levee, a huge
amount of rain water is required before flooding occurs. However, one drawback to their use is
that if water is able to get past the levees, then the flooding is significantly worse and causes
several times more damage.

Above, levees prevent possible flooding

Other ways of preventing floods include placing sandbags along the riverbank to serve as levees
and placing large rocks on banks to prevent erosion, which prevents riverbanks from
deteriorating, remaining high enough so that flooding will not occur as frequently.
Flood Safety

Before a flash flood:

• Keep a portable radio on at all times so that you can listen to emergency updates.
• If you are trapped inside your house, climb to the highest place and wait for rescuers to
find you. Do NOT swim outside.
• Store water in jugs, sinks, etc.
• Place valuables in the highest level of your house.
• Bring outdoor furniture and toys indoors and secure them.
• Turn off all utilities and close the main gas valve.

During a flood:

• Do not travel in flooded areas.

• Do NOT go near power lines and electrical wires.
• Beware of wild animals.

After a flood:

• Make sure your house is safe before entering.

• Do not use fire when reentering the house.
• Use a flashlight.
• Do not turn on your power until an electrician deems it safe.
• Boil all water before use until officials proclaim its safety.
• Beware of sharp debris and slippery floors.
• Throw out all foods contaminated with flood water.
• Make sure all property is safe again.
Flood prevention efforts succeed as Red River crests
Updated 3/21/2010 3:59 PM | Comment | Recommend E-mail | Save | Print |

Enlarge By Jay Pickthorn, AP

Jon Forknell and his daughter look
out onto the swollen Red River
Saturday as the water covers the
backyard of their Fargo, N.D., home.

FARGO, N.D. (AP) — The Red River crested in Fargo on Sunday without doing
major damage as flood fears started to recede.

The river topped out at just under 37 feet, or 19 feet over flood stage on Sunday afternoon —
well below the city's flood defenses, the National Weather Service said.

"We're bobbling downward," weather service spokesman Greg Gust said. He said the river
appeared to be starting a "very slow decline through the remainder of the day."

RELATED: 'Historic flooding' a risk this spring

The Red spilled from its banks last week due to runoff from a rapid snowmelt, but it did not rise
nearly as much as it did last year when record-breaking floods forced thousand to evacuate the

City officials have been on the brink of declaring victory this year, and the region was hoping for
mostly dry weather to speed the river's fall by week's end. The forecast was cooperating, with
only a small chance of rain in sight over the next few days.

That was good news to residents of North Dakota's largest city, who worried that the Red could
stay at its crest for several days, straining temporary levees and sandbag dikes.

Flooding this year has been limited mostly to areas just along the Red River in Fargo and
neighboring Moorhead, Minn., where 3-feet-high piles of sandbags have prevented the water
from reaching homes. Some yards, bike paths and sports fields have flooded — but without
major damage.

In rural areas outside Fargo, more widespread overland flooding from the Red River's smaller
tributaries submerged several farm fields and washed out a few roads.

Officials have said they were better prepared for this year's floods than the ones in 2009.
Thousands of volunteers filled and placed sandbags and the Army Corps of Engineers built
dozens of clay dikes. After the preparations were largely complete, the weather service lowered
its crest prediction several times as below-freezing temperatures slowed the melting of snow and
skies were free of major rain storms.

Despite feeling confident, Fargo Mayor Dennis Walaker has cautioned residents and officials
against celebrating too early and warned people not to take down sandbag dikes and temporary
levees just yet.