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Published March 28, 2011, 02:13 PM

Fargo Sets Up Hot Line for Red River Flood Fight

Fargo officials have yet to deliver sandbags to residents along the Red River, but the city's flood hotline is up and running.

By: Associated Press,

FARGO, N.D. (AP) — Fargo officials have yet to deliver sandbags to residents along the Red River, but the city's flood hotline is up and running.

The service is managed by the city's library and meant for people who live or work near the primary line of flood protection. It was first employed in the middle of a record 2009 flood after the city's engineering department was deluged with calls from worried residents.

The Fargo and Moorhead, Minn., area is expecting a third straight major flood.

"There was a lot of uncertainty during the 2009 flood and things were happening very fast," said Beth Postema, Fargo deputy library director. "Most of the calls went to engineering even though a lot of them didn't pertain to the levees or sandbag lines."

The hotline is being staffed from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. It will be available around the clock when flooding begins, Postema said.

The National Weather Service in its recent outlook gave the river a 50 percent chance of nearing the record 2009 flood that crested at almost 41 feet. The city is building clay levees and plans to deliver about 1.7 million sandbags at the end of the week.

"The call volume really hasn't even picked up this year even though we're looking at significant levels," Postema said. "Third year in, there aren't near as many unanswered questions as there were the first year. The anxiety level was much greater in 2009."

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