Monday, March 30, 2009

Fetch me an Ark.

And while I've been consumed by cleanliness and order or the lack thereof in my apartment I've been worrying about my brother in his ground level apartment in Fargo, ND. The city was all over the national media for it's record breaking high waters. It was starting to look like the flood of 1997 all over again.

Photo by Shawna Noel Photography posted 3/26/09
of submerged obelisk marking the height of the '97 flood

I was surprised to discover I was feeling anxiety over the whole thing every time I heard updates or saw pictures of our own river rising. As bridge after bridge closed in Grand Forks I began to wonder if our flood walls would truly work if they were needed.

the dry side of the flood wall,
two blocks from my apartment

Last Thursday and Friday some students chose to volunteer at Sandbag Central making bags for families in the Burke addition or north of town. I buried myself deeper in my projects and tried to pretend it wasn't happening.

In Fargo, my brother who lost all his worldly possessions in Grand Forks in 1997 seemed rather unconcerned and hadn't packed a thing. Despite the fact that he was living just blocks from the river. He claimed that the whole town would have to be flooded for the water to reach him. The dike would have to break or the crest would have to exceed the 53 feet they'd built up the dike to. The good news is that the National Guard came in and took over. The city was shut down in many ways and people were home preparing and some evacuating... My brother was watching Smallville. Sigh.

Here are some stats on sandbags in ND found here as of April 6th (see, I'm ahead of myself here... this back posting is hard to do):

The North Dakota National Guard says volunteers have filled more than 4 million sandbags around the state for flood protection.

To get an idea of the numbers, Guard officials came up with some comparisons.

They say:
_ The 4.3 million sandbags would equal the height of 1,720 Empire State Buildings if the bags were stacked one on top of the other.

_ Placed end-to-end, the bags would stretch from Bismarck to Oklahoma City, Okla.

_ The weight would be equivalent to about 360 Boeing 747s.

The Guard also says the 10,920 miles of dike patrols equal almost half the distance around the world.

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