HARWOOD, N.D. - The sound of Bobcats buzzed through the air south of here Tuesday, as several residents clamored to move mounds of clay dirt into temporary dikes around their homes.
The projected rise for the Sheyenne River at Harwood put some residents on edge, as they worked to protect their homes from another spring of overland flooding that they fear might arrive at their doorsteps in the coming days.
As of Tuesday afternoon, the Sheyenne was at moderate flood stage at 887.97 feet above sea level. The National Weather Service projects the river will crest at 891.5 feet by 7 a.m. Friday and stay at that level for at least a few days.
That crest would be just two-tenths of a foot less than 2009's level and about a half-foot short of the record crest of 892.02 feet set during the 1997 flood, according to the weather service.
Most of the homes in the first block of Lake Shure Estates, about four miles north of West Fargo, had driveways piled high with clay or sand, ready to be moved into position around homes.
Last year, Lake Shure residents used boats to commute in and out of their neighborhood after flooding cut off road access to the homes.
Temporary protective measures this year will cost resident Dave Schwartz more than $2,400 to secure his home, which is the lowest-lying property on the block.
It's the third time since Schwartz moved there in 2003 that he's had to take such precautions, he said.
Residents in the subdivision have discussed paying for a permanent dike that would protect the whole neighborhood, and "it's gotta happen this summer," Schwartz said, citing the exhaustion of back-to-back floods.
"When you have one that's a little bit farther apart, it's more of an excitement than a challenge, but this just gets to be frustration," Schwartz's next-door neighbor Tom Linnertz said. "It just keeps coming more and more frequently."
Two homes away, Dwight Lembke spent 10 hours Monday building a clay dike around his home.
He said the neighborhood used about 22,000 sandbags to fortify the area against the 2009 flood, and they're expecting a similar challenge this year.
In Harwood, Mayor Bill Rohrich reiterated Tuesday that he feels comfortable that the city will be fine against the flood this year, barring any change in conditions, like more rain, which would cause concern, he said.