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FLOOD UPDATE: Cass County pleads for volunteers to help rural sandbagging efforts

Cass County pleaded this morning for volunteers to turnout for sandbagging duties today as rural residents ramp up in their fight against the Red River and its tributaries.

"We are in need of volunteers," County Commissioner Darrell Vanyo said. "We are still a little short of our goals."

Vanyo said the county is about 60 percent done with sandbag levee construction.

However, with the Wild Rice and Sheyenne rivers filling up quickly, and the possibility of significant overland flooding caused in part by the rivers inability to empty into a swollen Red, county leaders are expecting a tough fight in rural areas.

Numerous clay dikes have been completed or will be complete for subdivisions south and north of Fargo.

The county doesn't expect the number of evacuations it saw last year. However, Sheriff Paul Laney and his deputies have partnered with numerous state and federal agencies again to form an emergency response team.

Laney said the response team will provide a "calming presence" to residents by letting them know law enforcement is there to help.

One reason fewer evacuations are expected is the number of residents who've accepted buyouts after last year's record flood. Vanyo said 41 buyouts have been approved and another 40 are waiting federal funding.

County Administrator Bonnie Johnson urged volunteers to report to Fargo's UP Center, which is being used as a staging area for the county's volunteers. The county is using buses to shuttle help to areas needing sandbag volunteers.

County Engineer Keith Berndt said crews have delivered 75,000 filled sandbags to critical areas, along with 400,000 empty bags that can be filled on site.

The county also has a number of closed roads. Motorists are urged to use caution and stay out of flood-work areas unless they are helping with the effort.

No details were immediately available, but Laney said a truck hauling sand rolled Tuesday night. There were injuries but the extent of those weren't known this morning.

Deputies also arrested kids who were horsing around in water-filled ditches, prompting Laney to remind residents that waterlogged roads and ditches "can be very dangerous.