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Crookston calls for sandbaggers

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Crookston called for volunteer sandbaggers after the Red Lake River swelled from 7 feet Thursday to almost 23.10 feet at 9 p.m. Sunday, and ice jams both above and below the city threatened surges.

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Flood stage is 15 feet, which the river reached about 3 a.m. Friday, City Administrator Aaron Parrish said. The emergency operations system is activated when the river reaches 20 feet.

Last year, the Red Lake River topped out at 25.65 feet in Crookston, requiring a full-scale flood fight and some evacuations.

The latest National Weather Service forecast has the river peaking at 24 feet today or Tuesday, Parrish said, as the recent warm weather and rains have hurried the spring melt throughout the region.

Volunteer sandbaggers were asked to report to the Ward 1 command post at 110 Sargent St., where they were to be directed to locations along a 200-foot stretch in Sampson's Addition, Parrish said.

"We want to get our protection level to 27 feet," he said. "We have significant ice jamming both above and below us. We're holding now, but those jams could cause a big surge.

"There's always uncertainty in situations like this, but we feel confident in the measures we're taking."

Once the protection level in Sampson's Addition has been raised, city leaders will evaluate the overall flood situation and consider the possibility of setting up a central sandbagging site Monday morning, Parrish said.

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