ND governor declares statewide flood emergency

BISMARCK (AP) – North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple has issued a disaster declaration in preparation for potential spring flooding.

The declaration covers counties and tribal nations that have a 50 percent chance of exceeding the definition of moderate flood stage. Flood outlooks released by the National Weather Service and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration show the likelihood of flooding along the Souris, Sheyenne, James, Pembina and Devils Lake basins.

The worst flooding is expected along the Red River in eastern North Dakota. Officials plan to fill 1 million sandbags in Fargo and Cass County, where weather service officials have predicted one of the top five all-time floods.

“Current conditions and forecasts clearly indicate there is significant potential for flooding that may exceed local response capabilities in areas across the state,” Dalrymple said.

The governor said the declaration is an important step in getting state money to fight floods. He earlier promised residents that the state would provide the necessary resources.

The declaration activates the state’s emergency operations plan, which requires that state officials, agencies and the North Dakota National Guard prepare for flood response.

Guard commander Dave Sprynczynatyk said there are more than 2,000 soldiers and airmen who are prepared to help around the state. He said members have conducted flood fighting exercises and identified “worst-case scenarios.”