Weather Forecast


Triple threat for rural Cass

Long lines of cars sit on Interstate 29 north of County Road 20 as they wait to pass through flooded highways north of Fargo on Sunday. Carrie Snyder / The Forum

While the heart of West Fargo is faring well during this year's spring flood, some outlying areas have a ways to go before they can breathe a sigh of relief.

Overland flooding in Cass County, and specifically Harwood and north of West Fargo, have taken over swaths of open farmland and made many rural roads impassable to travel.

"Southern areas of the county are starting to see a little relief out there," Cass County Administrator Bonnie Johnson said Tuesday. "We're actually sending out airboats today on the Maple River to check out conditions."

Horace, too, has been protected for the most part, she said, however an anhydrous ammonia leak was reported south of town Saturday that forced residents to stay inside their homes.

The leak happened at the Harvest States Elevator just before 10 a.m. The leak was contained around 10:40 a.m. A small ammonia cloud was visible but dissipated after a short while, officials said. A one-mile perimeter was set up around the city

On Sunday, more than 30 miles of I-29 from County Road 20 (Exit 69) to ND Highway 200A (Exit 100) were closed because of flooding. Traffic has since been detoured via I-94 to Casselton and north on Cass County Highway 18 nearly to Hillsboro.

Flooded roadways and frustrating detours are just some of the problems plaguing the area.

"There is a lot going on in the Harwood area," Johnson said. "The community itself is safe, but the surrounding area is having issues popping up now and then."

Johnson said there have been a number of issues requiring boat rescues, the most recent being a call from a mother and her infant near Argusville.

Filled sandbags have also been delivered to the Cenex Station in Harwood, Johnson said, to help expedite help to those rural residents who may be having emergency issues with their levees leaking or failing.

"There's an advantage to having filled bags close at hand," she said.

Water services were restored to the flooded Lake Shure Estates development south of Harwood after a new generator was installed to power the residential development's well pump. Diesel fuel must be hauled by boat to power the three-phase generator, Deputy Chris Denis said.

Residents in the Lake Shure area south of Harwood and west of Interstate 29 currently must take boats to and from their homes.

Education has been hindered, as well. Although West Fargo and Horace schools have not had to cancel classes, Harwood Elementary was forced to close on Monday because of flood concerns and lack of access to the facility.

The school reopened Tuesday; however, the only K-5 buses were limited to pickup points at Reiles Acres, Brooktree, Prairie Estates and within Harwood city limits, West Fargo Assistant to the Superintendent Heather Leas said. In addition to those points, students in grades 6-12 can also be picked up at Harwood Elementary School at 7:30 a.m., she said.

In a press release sent out by Cass County Commission Administrative Assistant Heather Worden, airboats and other rescue assets were moved by the Cass County Sherriff's Office from Hickson to Harwood. Assets to the Hickson area will be backfilled by a National Guard quick reaction force.

Flood waters northwest of West Fargo and in Harwood and Argusville are estimated to stretch 10 miles from the Red River to the west in Cass County.

Meanwhile, the National Guard quick response force (QRF), along with deputies from the Cass County Sheriff's Office responded to several requests for assistance Monday.

One caller reported that her son, Jordan Richards, was trapped in a stranded tractor with the wheels stuck on County Road 4 near Argusville. The Cass County Otter boat teams intercepted the tractor and all of the occupants were assisted to safety.

At 3:30 p.m., the Sheriff's Office responded to a call at 2551 173 Avenue SE in rural Argusville from a homeowner's daughter who reported that a dike broke at that location. She requested rescue for 5 people, ranging in age from 10 to 57, and a dog. All were evacuated by Cass County airboats and returned to safety.

Cass County and National Guard response teams are currently assessing levees in the City of Argusville at this time. Flooding in this area is unprecedented.