Flood Walls

2019 Flood Fight

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2019 Flood Fight - Frequently Asked Questions

Expand/Contract Questions and Answers

  • Does the City of Grand Forks have flood protection?

  • Is the Kennedy Bridge open?

  • Is the Point Bridge open?

  • Is the Sorlie Bridge downtown open?

  • What is the current river level in Grand Forks?

  • What roads are closed in GF County due to flooding?

  • Where can I get sandbags?

  • Who will clean my rural road of packed snow?

2019 Flood Fight - News Releases

Spring Flooding Situation Update | Report 1 | 3/18/2019-3/22/2019

Post Date:03/25/2019 11:11 AM



Subject:  2019-GF-008: Spring Flooding Situation Report #1

Reporting Period:  03/18/2019 – 03/22/2019

Emergency Management

Agency Summary

  • Grand Forks County Commission declared a Local Emergency at its regular meeting on Tuesday, 19MAR
  • Finalized County Sandbag Policy and had it adopted by the County Commission
  • Finalized sandbag distribution for the county locations
  • Met with PSAP leadership to discuss roles and responsibilities at different preparedness and response levels
  • Web address of the Flood Cam in EGF: http://floodcamera.egf.mn/floodcam/

Grand Forks Highway Dept

Agency Summary

  • Early part of week completed plowing and blowing snow
  • Contractors and county staff have begun excavating snow from road ditches, legal drains and spot sites of known problem locations to expedite drainage and minimize flooding
  • Dispersed first load of sandbags to all county sheds
  • Began inventory and preparation of road closure signage and barricades


City of Grand Forks Public Works

Agency Summary

  • Sandbag Machines Seasonal Tune-Ups In Process – City’s Central Garage 8-arm Sandbag Machine (2) 4 bag Sandbag Machines Potential Use by City, County, Other Entities as Authorized by City Administrator
  • Contingency Sandbags for City of Grand Forks Staff Use Only – Streets & Sanitation Divisions Estimated Need: 10,000 Filled Bags in roll offs, stored indoors.
  • Flood Wall Closure Preparations – Street Division
  • Stormwater Assistance – Street Division
    • 4 Payloader/Operators Clearing Snow in key areas to promote storm water drainage
  • Rail Removal - South-end Greenway Pedestrian Bridge over the Red River

City of Grand Forks Water Division

Agency Summary


Flood Protection Stations

  • Eliminated ice from under flood gates at 5 of 12 flood stations- date and time are tracked on the flood fight action listing (can provide this additional document if needed) 
  • Six flood stations were completed the week of March 10-16. Ice depth ranged from a couple of inches to five feet.  Also removed any sand/debris from gate seat. 
  • Removed ice from under flood gates at 4 of 4 satellite site.  The gate seats were also cleared of sand/debris. 
  • Jetted frozen catch basins and Storm Sewer Mains using hot water pressure washer, allowed flooded streets to be drained. 


  • Christmas in the Park: Lions’ have been notified that all electrical equipment should be either disconnected or removed. They have also been informed that park access could be closed in preparation for high water.
  • Boathouse: Ground Up Adventures has been told to remove or secure any remaining items in the containers by Sunday, March 24. HB Sound & Light will remove the containers sometime after that, depending on the river forecast and their schedule. The containers will be stored either in the city-owned lot near the Mission or at the Amazon building.




    Joint Public Information Center                                                                                                                                                                             Agency Summary


    On March 19 City and County officials met to determine communication coordination during the 2019 Flood Fight.  Here is the communication plan:

  •  Communications will be handled jointly by Tom Ford (GF County) and Info Center (GF City)
  • News Releases will be sent from the Emergency Mgmt. Office with support from the city/county.
  • A website has been created for all information regarding spring flooding for both the city/county.  The websites address will be www.grandforksgov.com/flood
  • All media inquiries will be handled by Tom Ford (County) or John Bernstrom (City).
  • Either Tom or John will added all city and county flood meetings


    City of Grand Forks Police Dept                                                                                                                                                                                          Agency Summary


    • Briefed command staff on City Flood Flight Plan and GFPD roles and responsibilities
    • Met with EM Director and Fire Dept to ensure coordination between public safety agencies.
    • Met with UND, City Leadership, and Northern Plains Test Site to discuss possible integration of UAS into the flood fight
    • Inventoried PPE to ensure accountability and serviceability
    • Met with Sheriff’s Office to discuss Water Ops, UAS ops, and general flood fighting operations


Grand Forks Fire Dept

Agency Summary

  • Attended meeting with Police Dept, UND, City Leadership, and Northern Plains to discuss UAS integration.

Grand Forks PSAP/911 Center

Agency Summary

  • Met with EM Director to discuss PSAP roles and responsibilities during flood preparation and response levels:
    • Prepared a process for CAD Entry/Nature Code during the Flood Preparedness phase to assist with data tracking as well as information flow to responders and resource referral information to the public.



      Altru Health Systems

         Agency Summary


  • Flood Task Force formed approx. one month ago and implemented partial incident command
  • Coordinating with regional services that have possible flooding implications for situational awareness
  • Task Force meetings are currently held weekly
  • Coordinating and sharing information with partner health systems Sanford and Essentia
  • Coordinating with Altru EMS for possibly pre-staging assets
  • Close coordination with NWS Grand Forks, ND NE Public Health Regional Emergency Preparedness, local emergency managers, ND Dept of Health, ND Hospital Association, ND Healthcare Coalition, and the NW MN Healthcare Coalition



Planning Section



Hydrologic Outlook

National Weather Service Grand Forks ND

1052 AM CDT Thu Mar 21 2019


Favorable melt conditions have persisted through the past week as

temperatures have warmed above freezing during the day while

dropping back below freezing at night.


The end of the current work week and start of the weekend will bring

even warmer temperatures to the region as highs push into the 40s on

Saturday. These temperatures will continue to further ripen the

snowpack and even allow some water to begin ponding and moving into

local drainage. These conditions will most likely be seen across the

far southern Red River Valley and into portions of west central

Minnesota where the warmest temperatures are expected.


However, this degree of melting and initial moving of water is

expected to be short-lived as the region will experience another dip

in temperatures by Sunday and into the first part of the new work

week. Additionally, a weak weather system will skirt southern

portions of the region bringing only minor amounts of precipitation.

Full blown river flooding and extensive overland flooding is not

expected to begin quite yet as we head into the first half of next



After the brief cool down at the beginning of next week, the region

will see temperatures increase once again mid to late week. High

temperatures in the 40s (possibly low 50s) will be likely region-

wide for the second half of the week with southern locations

possibly remaining above freezing even during the overnight hours.

Following the minor precipitation chances this weekend, quiet and

dry weather looks likely for the first half of next week before a

return to a more active pattern is possible.


The last probabilistic outlook issued on March 15th remains valid

for the time being. This outlook incorporates average weekly

precipitation amounts of roughly one-quarter of an inch and an

average temperature regime. Thus far, the precipitation and

temperature pattern has been in agreement with these values. Future

storm systems will continue to be monitored as we potentially turn

to a more active pattern by the end of next week.


Lastly, there will be no additional probabilistic outlooks issued

this spring as we get closer to widespread melting and the issuance

of deterministic forecasts. However, an updated thaw progress

statement will be issued on Monday, March 25th regarding the status

of the snowmelt, forecast weather conditions and the impacts on

future flood potential.


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GF County Emergency Operations Center (EOC)
(701) 780-8213