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Published January 19, 2011, 07:47 PM

Northern Valley Residents React to Gloomy Flooding Outlook

People in Oslo and Drayton are beginning preparations in case there is major flooding again this year. The National Weather Service released its latest predictions this week. They showed a better than 50-50 chance of major flooding in many northern Red River Valley communities.

People in Oslo and Drayton are beginning preparations in case there is major flooding again this year.

The National Weather Service released its latest predictions this week. They showed a better than 50-50 chance of major flooding in many northern Red River Valley communities.

All roads leading into Oslo are open right now, but that could change in a couple months because of flooding. Just like the last two years.

"It's come to the point where we feel like we're going to have a flood every year," Oslo Mayor Scott Kosmatka said.

Kosmatka is reacting to the latest National Weather Service flood projection. It shows a better than 50-percent chance of major flooding this year in Oslo.

"Come February, we'll start wrapping up our flood protection, probably talk about declaring an emergency for flood season," Kosmatka said.

While there are flooding concerns in Drayton, people are thankful for the new bridge that will allow the road to stay open longer.

"Since we have our new bridge now, it will help me. Before, the bridge was always closed, so it was sometimes a month before I'd see people from Minnesota," Route Cafe owner Marie Pribula said.

But Wednesday at the Route Cafe, business was booming and the food was hot. So was the conversation about flooding.

"The flooding started in the late 50's, and it seems like it's more common every year," Drayton resident Doug Quibell said.

Some of that flooding, Ron Corrick helped prevent.

"We usually help with the city dike here and close up any areas that need to be dealt with," Corrick, of Helm Enterprise said.

Corrick says they're planning to do the same this year if needed, but many in the Red River Valley don't want to deal with flooding year after year.

"Our little towns kind of get left out, and it would be kind of nice if we would have some type of diversion too," cafe owner Pribula said.

"The roads are blocked off for a week to a week and a half. It just stops the flow of traffic. Last two years, we were down by about 75 percent during that time period, which hurts all the businesses in town here," Mayor Kosmatka said.

Further north in Pembina, the National Weather Service is predicting a 70-percent chance the Red River could reach or surpass 2009 levels.

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