GRAND FORKS — Grand Forks has declared a state of emergency. Flood controls are in place to protect the city from a flood crest up to 57 feet.
The Red Lake River at Crookston peaked at 23.97 feet Monday morning before dropping to 21.5 feet this morning. The water from the Red Lake crest should be moving through Grand Forks on Wednesday night, well before the Red River and the North Dakota tributaries start peak flow.
The Red River at East Grand Forks stood at 35.74 feet as of 11.15 a.m., a rise of 7.28 feet in 24 hours. The National Weather Service expects it to crest between 47 and 49 feet early next week. The 10-day forecast is for below normal precipitation and cooler temperatures, good conditions for a slower melt and lower river levels. Red River levels are expected to remain high for a long time.
Fourth Street in East Grand Forks is closed all the way to the underpass. River Road remains open. The off ramp from U.S. Highway 2 is closed.
Polk County Emergency Manager Nancy Shafer said she would be checking the Thompson Bridge today for ice jams. The Red River at the Thompson Bridge stood at 42.22 feet at 9:15 a.m. Tuesday.
The city of Grand Forks plans to activate the English Coulee Pump Station today. To minimize the amount of water that must be pumped through this station, the gates on Drain No. 9 will be closed, diverting English Coulee flows into the English Coulee Diversion.
City crews began operating gates this morning in an attempt to erode and break up accumulated ice below the gates so they can be fully closed. The gates on Drain No. 9 will remain closed until the river level drops to about 40 feet.
The parking lot along the boardwalk area adjacent to the river was closed in order to allow crews to assemble materials for the flood wall. Typically, the wall takes 3-4 days to complete. Crews from both East Grand Forks and Grand Forks also began disassembling rail guards at both pedestrian bridges over the Red River.
The city, in co-operation with East Grand Forks, will close the Point Bridge and the Sorlie Bridge some time on Thursday. Motorists will still be able to use the Kennedy Bridge.
The Greater Grand Forks Greenway has been closed for safety reasons. Closures are being put up in Riverside Park, Lincoln Drive Park and the dog park.