Fargo Adjusts Flood 2019 Plans with Goal of Fully Protecting the City from 39-Foot River Crest


Article provided by City of Fargo

Following yesterday’s National Weather Service (NWS) spring flood update, the City of Fargo and its engineers have adjusted plans to protect the community from Flood 2019.  Efforts will be reduced from a flood fighting strategy previously based on the NWS 10% probabilistic level to now be focused on the 25% probabilistic level.  This equates to preparing for the potential of a 39-foot flood (with 2-feet of freeboard).

In its first public flood meeting on March 25, the City expressed its strategy of fully activating resources in anticipation of the potentially record-breaking probabilistic crest level and remaining optimistic it could adjust plans if favorable conditions emerged. The City has been reviewing conditions daily to ensure it is responding in the most efficient and effective approach possible. 

In light of the recently favorable weather conditions and the NWS update, Fargo will suspend Sandbag Central operations this evening at 7 p.m. with an anticipated 400,000 sandbags produced and ready to deploy.  This number of sandbags will allow the City to fully execute its 39-foot flood protection plan.  Additionally, all equipment will remain in place at Fargo Sandbag Central in the event unfavorable weather conditions dictate a reactivation of the operation. It is important to note the need for a strong volunteer effort through 7 p.m. today to finish a strong sandbag production effort.

Just as in 2009, Fargo saw a tremendous volunteer response from members of the community over the past four days. At this time, City staff members are contacting the groups of volunteers currently scheduled for next week and asking them to consider assisting Cass County and the City of Moorhead sandbag production efforts.

Fargo engineers will be working through the weekend to modify public flood maps and plans, which will be discussed at the Fargo/Cass County Public Flood Meeting on Monday, April 1 at 8 a.m. in the Commission Chambers at Fargo City Hall. The neighborhood meetings, scheduled for April 1 and 2, will be held as planned.

Mayor Tim Mahoney stated, “We are currently seeing an ideal snow melt, which is great news for the Fargo metro. Our focus on the 25% probabilistic level is a safe approach, allowing us to fully respond to unanticipated and potentially heavy precipitation with our newly-produced sandbags and other protection measures. I’ve been at Sandbag Central during all four days of operation and have been so impressed by the Spirit of Fargo. The citizens of this area once again stood up and answered the call. It is important to note that the public may again be needed to help us deploy sandbags in the next few weeks. The Flood of 2019 is not over and we cannot be complacent; today, however, we express appreciation to the volunteers, civic groups and City employees who play such a vital role in Fargo’s flood fight.”