Sunday, June 26, 2011

North Dakota Flood of 2011

Hey there! It's been quite a long time since I blogged, and for that I apologize. Sometimes real life gets in the way of cyberspace.

So a couple of weeks ago we left on vacation - a road trip across the western half of the U.S., culminating in visiting family in Oregon. We drove from North Dakota through Montana to Yellowstone Park. The park was miserable. It was so packed with tourists it felt like driving in rush hour traffic and all I wanted was to get out. There was no way to commune with nature with that much traffic.

After escaping Yellowstone we stayed in Idaho, then the next day drove to Salt Lake City were we discovered some of the rudest drivers ever. Seriously, I was astonished at the bad behavior.

After Utah, we took off west to Reno where we stayed at Circus Circus for 2 days and had an absolute blast. Hubby and I only gambled a little bit because we had so much fun with the kids in the arcade and midway we had no desire to go to the casino.

After Reno we traveled through Northern California (the Shasta and Lassen wilderness areas are so incredibly beautiful it made up for the Yellowstone debacle) and up to Grants Pass, Oregon to visit family. The next stop was the Oregon Coast where we enjoyed the beach (well, the rest of the family did...I stayed in the hotel room and suffered with excrutiating tooth pain from a rotten tooth).  The last stop on the trip was Salem, Oregon where we visited more family.

Throughout the trip we monitored news back home about the flooding taking place in Minot, ND, which is only about 20 miles from our hometown. The Mouse River has inundated Minot and, unfortunately, our home town lies along the same river.

On the morning of our second day in Salem we learned that our hometown was calling for a mandatory evacuation 2 days hence. So we all piled into the car and drove 30 hours straight to get back home in time to pack our house for evacuation. Luckily we have 3 licensed drivers in the family. We stopped at a rest stop somewhere near Deer Lodge, MT and slept for 2 hours, then did a 3-man driving rotation where whoever wasn't driving could sleep.

We got home in time to get our house in order for evacuation. We managed to get a lot of stuff into plastic tubs and into our storage unit, but since we have no place to put furniture, our only choice was to haul everything up to the second floor, hoping that if the town does flood the water won't get that high. We didn't have enough time to clear out the whole house or enough space on the second floor to cram everything we own, so it came down to a lot of prioritizing...is this more important than that?  All 3 bedrooms, a bathroom, and a hallway upstairs are packed solid with stuff.

Right now we're living in a hotel. The one lucky moment in this whole disaster was that when I called hotels in Minot (the part that isn't flooded), I was able to find us a room. Trust me, this is a minor miracle considering that parts of Minot, all of the town of Sawyer and most of the town of Velva have been evacuated. Hotels are booked solid.

So here we sit, with our cat, waiting out the river.  It's supposed to crest in our town tomorrow, and we're all on pins and needles waiting to see if all the clay temporary diking that the Nat'l Guard and Army Corps of Engineers heaped on top of the regular dike will hold. The river is already above the level of the regular dike and as of this morning much of the temporary dike was eroding from the river flow.  They were scrambling to place plastic sheeting and sandbags over the dike to prevent more erosion.

So that's where it stands at the moment. Until the river decides what it's going to do, we're basically homeless. Luckily I work from home anyway, so I should be able to work from the hotel and continue to earn a living. Other than that, it's just an effort to keep from going stir crazy.

The pictures above show:  the river hitting the bottom of the bridge at the north end of town. You can see the temporary dike on the right above the river; the second pic shows how they diked the bridge; the last pic shows the erosion before they started covering it with plastic and sandbags.

So that's the scoop. Anybody else live through natural disasters? What's your story?

3 comments:

Cinette said...

Wow. What a way to finish your holiday. Sorry to hear about your predicament. Wishing you the best of luck and that your house isn't too badly damaged. The most important thing is that you are all safe. Sending prayers your way!

Huntress said...

Amazing.
Words fail me.

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