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Published March 19, 2010, 07:09 PM

Oslo Dealing With Flooding Again This Year

It's a problem all too familiar to people in Oslo - the Red River rises and threatens to cut off access to the town.

By: Renee Chmiel, WDAZ

The city of Oslo, Minnesota fought one of its most difficult flood fights ever last year, in fact, the city was surrounded by water and access was cut off. Now, Highway 54 from North Dakota is closed to thru traffic, and there's only one passable lane in some areas.

It's a problem all too familiar to people in Oslo - the Red River rises and threatens to cut off access to the town. It's more than a foot above major flood stage. And it's still rising.

Scott Kosmatka/Oslo City Council Member: "It started out all right at a 37 foot flood crest-we can handle that decent. But at 38 feet it's starting to get to that point where we're going to lose our roads."

Last year access to the town was cut off, and that may happen for 2 to 3 weeks again this year. But city leaders say they were better prepared for this year's flood fight. They've built a 2,000 foot clay dike on the west end of town.

Florence Elden/Oslo Mayor: "Right now everything is pretty well taken care of and planned. We learned a lot from last year's flood."

Residents have filled about 4,000 sandbags, and they have about 1,000 ready to go out on the railroad tracks if they are needed.

The National Weather Service says the river is expected to rise slowly over the weekend and be at 37 to 39 feet most of next week. This means roads may be closed soon, but residents have been there before.

Scott Kosmatka: "As a business owner it just makes it tough to get supplies in. You've got to do a lot of extra running to get what you need into town, make sure you have it all stocked up."

City leaders are having daily emergency meetings. They say although it's easy for people to get too comfortable during flooding, they should still make sure they are prepared.

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