Readings at the gauge along the Souris River in Minot are finally going down. After surpassing record levels not seen in more than a century, the river has finally crested.
About a third of Minot's residents were forced to evacuate late last week as the water slowly, but steadily crept higher. Then from early on Friday into early Saturday, the water level surged 5 feet, reaching a record 1,561.72 feet above sea level by Sunday.
This shattered the record of 1,558.0 feet observed during a flood in early 1881. While gradually beginning to retreat, water levels will still stay above this previous record's mark through the end of the week.
Minot Mayor Curt Zimbleman reported at a press conference on Sunday afternoon, "We did have a couple of close calls on the temporary dikes last night...Both areas have been repaired.
According to the Associated Press, approximately 4,000 homes have been flooded to some degree. However, only about 10 percent of the homes in the flooded areas carry flood insurance, making clean-up and rebuilding efforts that much more daunting once residents get to return home.
While the water is ebbing in Minot, other places downstream have yet to see the worst of the river's flooding.
The Souris, or Mouse River, originates near Weyburn, Saskatchewan. The river dips southward, zig-zagging through northern North Dakota, before turning back north and heading into southern Manitoba.
In Sawyer, N.D., the river eclipsed the location's record stage late on Friday, and will continue rising for at least the first part of today. The story is similar for those in nearby Velva, where record-shattering water levels should also top off later today or on Tuesday.
Towns along the Souris' northward jaunt through Dakota will have to wait even longer, mid to late week, for the water to stop rising.
Showers and thunderstorms roamed across the area over the weekend. Despite drenching parts of the region with upwards of an inch of rain, the rainfall will have little effect on the already epic flooding.
With high pressure taking control, dry, sunny weather should hold over the northern Plains into the middle of the week.
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