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Homes in danger as wind-driven waves batter levees

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WEST FARGO - Cass County called for volunteers this afternoon to help residents trying to save two homes near here as whitecaps driven by strong winds crashed against their levees.

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Wind speeds at Fargo's Hector International Airport were greater than 30 mph, with gusts of up to 55 mph, the National Weather Service reported.

"These waves are just tearing their dikes apart," Cass County Sheriff Paul Laney said.

The county issued a CodeRED alert seeking 20 to 30 volunteers to help reinforce the levees with sandbags. When volunteers started showing up in tennis shoes, another CodeRED was issued to clarify that volunteers need to be wearing hip waders, Laney said.

As of 3 p.m., a National Guard quick response force, Customs and Border Protection staff, county ATV teams and volunteers were working with homeowners Greg and Shannan Stanke to reinforce their levees, Laney said.

The Stankes' neighbor, William Lisburg, 2910 13th Ave. W., was digging up his front yard in an attempt to raise his own earthen levees, Laney said, adding Lisburg estimates it will take about 3,600 sandbags to reinforce his levees.

Additional volunteers were still needed as of about 3 p.m., Laney said.

Airboats were standing by but won't be used unless it's a life-or-death situation because they are too easily capsized by strong winds, Laney said.

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