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FLOOD UPDATE: Fargo relies on volunteers to help today as National Guard arrives to help flood fight

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FARGO - Volunteer turnout today will be key in Fargo's flood fight as city leaders hope for a repeat of Monday's performance.

"We put out the plea yesterday for volunteers and they turned out," Mayor Dennis Walaker said this morning during the city's daily flood briefing. "We depend so much on the volunteers."

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The Red River, which is expected to reach 38 feet in Fargo by Saturday, has crested in Wahpeton.

Walaker said the Red's crest in Wahpeton is a positive sign, as the river typically crests four days later in Fargo.

Today, 300 to 400 North Dakota National Guard troops will be in place as hundreds of students from private and public schools in Fargo and West Fargo will be making and placing sandbags.

Contractors operating 120 trucks are hauling clay into neighborhoods, which also will continue to see semis and heavy equipment dropping sandbags for residents to protect homes.

Sandbag delivery extended early into this morning, but convoys again will be escorted by police into neighborhoods today.

"The word for the day is get our defenses up," City Commissioner Tim Mahoney said.

However, city leaders emphasized caution and safety.

Motorists are encouraged to stay away from main corridors - 25th Street South, Seventh Avenue North and the far southern and northern stretches of University Drive - to allow trucks delivering clay and sandbags to quickly access drop sites.

The National Guard and police plan to help monitor neighborhoods and traffic to keep roads clear for deliveries.

Alternate flood protection measures - Hesco barriers filled with sand and Big Bag sandbags - will be available Wednesday, and city officials are working on details to put those in place.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will be aid in construction of clay levees today and fill Hesco barriers in flood-prone areas Wednesday.

Enterprise Director Bruce Grubb said volunteers helped produce 110,000 sandbags Monday to bring the city's total to 850,000. Grubb said the city expects to reach its goal of 1 million sandbags sometime on Wednesday.

More than 400,000 sandbags were delivered to neighborhoods by 2 a.m. this morning, and four truck convoys will begin delivering more this morning.

Main delivery routes for dike materials will be 25th Street South and Seventh Avenue North. The traveling public is asked to stay off those routes, if possible.

Police Chief Keith Ternes said the public cooperated with city leaders' pleas yesterday to avoid driving in areas of heavy truck traffic, but also asked people to avoid Fourth Street North in downtown Fargo.

With a clay dike on Second Street, traffic has become congested in downtown.

The city's water system continues to work well as workers continue to monitor storm sewer and waste water systems.

The National Guard, like last year, will have quick response teams in place this week to respond to emergencies.

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