Flood waters claim two people as Grafton, Minto deal with record-high river levelsFlood waters just to the north of Grand Forks have now claimed two people and the search is still on for one of them. At the same time Grafton and Minto are dealing with record-high river levels.
By: David Schwab, WDAZ
Flood waters just to the north of Grand Forks have now claimed two people and the search is still on for one of them. At the same time Grafton and Minto are dealing with record-high river levels.
As towns fight back overland and river flooding, right now it appears the most dangerous places to be in Northeastern North Dakota are those flooded county and township roads.
This is day two of the water recovery and search for 55-year-old Gregory Guy Miller who was travelling alone Monday night when authorities say he was likely swept away by high water near Minto.
Ron Jurgens, Walsh County Sheriff:"The family has been here the whole time and they are very anxious to come to a conclusion here."
Friends of Miller waited in their vehicles on a road just across from where the search was taking place. Miller's mostly submerged pickup can still be seen off in the distance.
Thomas Inocencio, Grand Forks County Water Operations Commander: "Sonar today and any areas of interest we are going to mark with buoys and put divers down to check it out."
Conditions are tough with temperatures here only in the 30s. Divers have to deal with murky, freezing water that is 14 feet deep with a strong current. Team Commander Thomas Inocencio say it's like searching a moving lake.
Thomas: "We have the current, we have the wind. And it's such a large body of water."
Meanwhile in the nearby town of Minto, homes are sandbagged on the south end of town in case the Forest River goes much higher. Ten miles to the north in Grafton, the Park River is being held back by a series of temporary clay dikes. Several neighborhoods sit just on the other side.
Don Hutson, Grafton City Councilman: "The water is ten feet higher than the street."
But things here are in monitor mode as dikes are being walked 24 hours a day by volunteers and the police department. City officials describe the mood here as...
Nike Ziegelmann, Grafton City Administrator: "Comfortable. We had the temporary dikes in place well before the water started rising so it wasn't a last minute hustle and bustle around here."
Search crews say they are not sure if Miller's body was swept downstream but hope to make that determination soon. The water is expected to start going down in about three days, but not a fast pace.