FARGO, N.D. — The Red River in North Dakota's largest city approached its crest on Saturday evening, slightly below levels predicted by officials.
As of 5:17 p.m., the Red reached 38.74 feet at Fargo-Moorhead, according to the U.S. National Weather Service. The Red was expected to rise only slightly higher to 38.8 feet, where it may remain.
"The river level may fluctuate a few tenths of a foot over the next 48 hours if rainfall occurs..." the weather service said Saturday.
The crest is expected to remain below 39.5 feet, even with precipitation. The river will slowly recede later this week, the forecasters said.
Fargo built up its flood defences to 42 feet. It completed its diking operations on Friday. The record crest at Fargo-Moorhead, set in 2009, was 40.84 feet.
Just to be safe, workers patrolled dikes along Fargo's downtown on Saturday. Meanwhile, unworried residents strolled over the bridges to Moorhead, Minn., pausing to take photos of the high river levels. Flood-gawkers also clambered down the staircase of a partly flooded downtown Moorhead parkade to get an up-close view of the deluge.
Overland flooding outside of Fargo-Moorhead, however, is significant in many areas. Water covered small stretches of one southbound lane of Interstate 29 north of Fargo on Saturday, but the highway remained open.