Minot, N.D., Residents Face Evacuations
ROBERT SIEGEL, Host:
Kim Fundingsland is a staff writer for the Minot Daily News, and he joins us now from Minot. And Kim, where do things stand today? I understand the water is rising quickly enough that the city is using sirens to let folks know it's time to go.
M: Yes, that's the case. The water began topping some of the levees on the west side of town where the river enters Minot shortly after 8 a.m. Central Time. They did use the outdoor loudspeaker system to warn people to get moving. And just a few minutes ago, they announced that the sirens would be sounded, that the entire river valley, some 10- to 11,000 people would have to leave immediately, and those sirens should be - they might go off during this interview.
SIEGEL: And are you seeing generally full compliance with these warnings, or do many people stay behind and risk it?
M: On top of that, the National Guard has gone door to door and made sure now that everyone is either out or knows they have to be out within a few minutes.
SIEGEL: Now, Minot already has an extensive levee system, I gather built by the Army Corps of Engineers. These waters are now overtopping them. Is it simply overtopping them, or have there been real breaches in the levees?
M: When the surge came up a few years ago, a call went out to the Corps of Engineers, and they built very substantial secondary dikes, and that was a very comforting time because those dikes were so substantial and so high, and it is those dikes that are now being topped today.
SIEGEL: Whoa. Now, you mentioned the flood of 1969. Were you around then, or do you have family lore of that...
M: I was here then, a senior in high school.
SIEGEL: What was it like?
M: And the sirens are going off right now, by the way. So that means there's nobody left, and yeah, it's just left to wash away. It's just so sad, so sad.
SIEGEL: You're just looking at a downtown that one assumes will just have to be - salvage what you can but rebuilt, essentially, from buildings that are inundated.
M: Right, and there'll be a lot of people that just walk away. In fact, there's a lot of people that knew they were going to so flooded and had so much work to do that they just walked out the door. They're just done.
SIEGEL: Well, Kim, good luck to you, and thanks for talking with us about it.
M: Thank you.
SIEGEL: That's Kim Fundingsland, who's a writer for the Minot Daily News in Minot, North Dakota.
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