The mayor of Minot, North Dakota told 11,000 of the town's residents to pack up their belongings and move to higher ground as a deluge from the Souris River threatened to inundate the town.
The river is expected to rise nearly to best the previous flood record, set in 1881, by about 5 feet, and could rise almost 8 feet higher than the 1969 flood, Reuters reported Wednesday. Loudspeakers througout the town urged residents to flee as workers sought to reinforce the stricken earthen levees surrounding the town.
We are trying to patch up as many holes [in flood barriers] as we can to give people as much time as we possibly can to get them out safely, Minot Fire Department Spokesman Dean Lenertz told the BBC.
Heavy rains and a larger than usual amount of melting snow filled Canadian reservoirs north of the town, forcing officials there to empty water into the Souris.
A flood is coming, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Spokesman Patrick Moes told the New York Times. We are trying to manage this flow to prevent the risk to human life as best as possible.