From: Geoff Davidian, Reuters, MINOT, North Dakota
Published June 27, 2011 06:55 AM

Levees hold as Souris River crests at historic high

The Souris River crested to historic heights in North Dakota's fourth largest city of Minot early on Sunday, but emergency levees held providing respite to officials battling to keep areas dry.

The Souris, which flows from Canada southeast into North Dakota, rose early on Sunday morning to almost four feet above the 130-year-old record it shattered on Friday, according to the National Weather Service.

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There have been no reported deaths or injuries in the biggest flood in area history but floodwaters have all but swallowed more than 3,000 homes and displaced more than 12,000 Minot-area residents.

"Even though this crest has passed, there is still a tremendous amount of water," U.S. Army Corps of Engineers spokesman Jeffrey DeZellar said.

DeZellar added that rain dumped by thunderstorms late Saturday had pooled in shallow ponds on the land-side of some area levees forcing workers to wade or drive through them.

The storms did not cause any of the floodwater to swell over levees.

More thunderstorms are still possible on Sunday said Steve Goss, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service's Storm Prediction Center.

"Severe storms aren't likely, though, and it looks like the foods won't be aggravated by rainfall," Goss said.

Minot Mayor Curt Zimbelman said water levels will remain high for several days and praised the fortitude of the residents displaced by mandatory evacuations.

Authorities tried in vain to remove a walking bridge that collapsed in the middle of the river. The bridge remains stable but poses a threat to a downriver dam.

Officials' attention has turned to displaced residents, more than 12,000 of whom heeded mandatory evacuation calls.

Photo credit: Reuters

Article continues: http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/06/26/us-flooding-plains-idUSTRE75O1U420110626

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