Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Watery Wednesday: April 6 1997

The old emails continue from 1997.

Subject: Flood Stage One and Blizzard

Hello everyone, we are high and dry for the moment, yesterday we sand bagged around the house.  Water is coming from the north and west across the highways.  Our lake is rising, last evening the rain turned to ice and then snow and there is a blizzard warning.  My Mom and Dad are here with us as are Trica, Richard and Savannah, they were here to sandbag and are now stranded.  Mom and Dad will really have to hunt for a road to get back to Minnesota, as most of the roads are closed due to water.   All bridges east of here are covered with water.

It is not a pretty situation except that now we have all this wonderful white snow to cover all the dirt and mud.

Sandbagging went well: we had people from the North Dakota Air Guard, Our Redeemer in Moorhead, and a NDSU Fraternity.  We did well except it was cold and wet work.

Mom and Trica were the chief cooks.

If you all have maps of ND the water is coming over Hwy #17 West of us, Hwy I-29 East of us and the Sheyenne River North of us is due to crest this week, and the Red River by the weekend.  Water is coming from all directions even from the skies.  We still have electricity, a lot of people don’t so we are warm and can communicate with the world. 

Gene had a pretty bad day yesterday. He was alot excited and is pacing today and watching the water.  We need to close up the driveway with sand bags yet, and set up our pumps to take care of seepage.  You all take care.  Gene and Connie

Harwood April 1997 Front sandbags

Sand bag view from the garage.  Harvey and Joyce’s house is yellow.

Harwood 1997 two front of house April

Sand bags and snow

Harwood April 1997 Number four

One of the panels was removed from the dog fence on the North side of the house so sand bags could be laid.  Water from the rain gutters had to be diverted…we used that grey pipe to get it away from the house and over the sand bags.

Harwood 1997 April Number three

Here is our cul de sac.

Harwood April 1997 five

Back of the house, the hoses to the left are from pumps.


Thoughts and recalls:

I was at work on Saturday afternoon ( I worked at a Greenhouse in West Fargo), it had been raining.  Back at home the neighbors Stephen and Mae said that the water was coming over Highway #17  and we should sand bag.   Far Guy called me at work and said “sand bagging has begun.”  I left work and headed for home.   Far Guy had sand delivered and dumped in the driveway.  Bags were filled and plastic was laid on the frozen ground, sand bags were placed on the plastic and then the plastic was pulled over the outside of the bags…and a few anchor bags laid on top of that plastic.  

Harvey and Joyce were gone for the day and said “What the heck happened while we were gone?” 

Many people said that was the day when hell froze over. 

My Dad made us a sturdy double sand bag holder, made from tamarac lumber from Grandpa Drewes collection of “stuff”.  Two shovelers shoveled into the top of the holder while two other people held bags, when the bags were full they were handed off to be tied securely and then loaded into the wheelbarrow or lawn tractor wagon or handed down a line if you had enough people. Sand bags were put in place one by one.  A staggered pattern works the best…kinda like laying bricks.  Every bag weighed 30 to 40 pounds depending on who was filling the bags!

There was no Red Cross handing out sandwiches or cups of coffee, the homeowners did the best they could to feed people and keep them warm…dry gloves were a luxury…as was dry clean clothing.

I know our good friends Susan and Mike and Lynne and Jim came out to help…Susan was muddy from head to toe…and cold …but still smiling.

We helped out in other cul de sacs in the neighborhood, there were many people who just drove around and looked for people sandbagging and they would stop and help.

Strangers helping strangers.


Far Guy recalls: Trica and I were putting sand bags in place, it was dark and it was a blizzard.  Trica asked me “Dad is this the end of the world?”

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linda m said...

Gives me goose bumps just reading about the rising water.

thecrazysheeplady said...


DJan said...

People helping people, and working against what Nature wanted to have happen. Very interesting story, well told.

troutbirder said...

I think our youngest son graduated from NDSU that spring & all were awarded a PHD for Piling Higher Deeper (the sandbags in Fargo)...:)

Tired Teacher said...

My BIL, niece, and nephew helped with the sandbagging that year. I recall aerial photos of the area: it was a mess!

Rita said...

That was the weirdest part about moving up here from Mpls--the simultaneous floods and blizzards. It is kind of like hell freezing over.

Sam I Am...... said...

Wow! Scary situation! It reads like a good novel but it had to be scary to actually be experiencing it.

Red said...

You wouldn't ant to go through this again. Interesting that your writing "sounds" different. It's a younger person.

Patsy said...

I sure hope things are warming up now at you home.
We just didn't have a winter this year , maybe two or three days were cold
wet and miserable.

Henny Penny said...

It scares me to read about this. I would think you all were pretty scared, but too busy to think about it. And Tricia asking if it was the end of the world. That is a bad feeling to experience. Gives me a chill.