WDAZ: Your Home Team

Published February 24, 2010, 04:39 PM

Minnewaukan Preparing For The Worst

New predictions have Devils Lake rising as much as 3-feet more this spring, at which point the town of Minnewaukan could be partially swallowed. Now officials are scrambling to prepare.

Underneath this snow is a ticking time bomb. Another 3-foot lake rise is brewing under the cracking ice, which will threaten the town of Minnewaukan.

Trish McQuoid: "We're concerned about our school, we are also the county site where all 4 buildings are located, and 3 of the 4 are at risk."

The school is priority one. Water sits just 50 yards away. Now at an elevation of 1450, predictions put Devils Lake as high as 1453 this spring. The gym is at 1454, the main floor at 1458.

To give you an idea of how close the water is to the school behind me, I'm standing at the edge of the football filed which is covered by 2 and a half feet of water underneath me. If predictions are right water could rise to the door 50 yards behind me forcing them to leave the school behind.

Myron Jury: "We have 265 kids here its been going well. We have 60 employees 3-million dollar payroll so it would be a real blow to lose the school."

Jury says losing the school could mean the end of the town. They're working with Fema, the Army Corps of Engineers, county and government agencies to restructure the dikes.

Myron Jury: "If it gets to the height they say we'll have to raise it then riprap."

At 1453 more than 30 homes would also take on water. These houses sit at 1449, and this restaurant already has water in this ditch at its current elevation. Predictions would put 4 more feet of water in both. This bait shop is another problem. Just 50 yards away its owner is concerned.

Jerry Fenner: "It's desheartening, it been here so long and the history of the lake we want to preserve the town."

The mayor says this spring they'll focus on emergency diking and hope they can make it through the summer and be better prepared for next season.

The main problem is money. They don't have enough money locally, and can't do much raising of the dikes with out help. They're hoping the Army Corps of Engineers will come to help once the snow starts.