SEARCH

Entries in Minot (3)

Monday
Jun272011

Flood Waters Breach Berm at Nebraska Nuclear Power Plant

ABC News(MINOT, N.D.) -- A berm at a nuclear power plant in Fort Calhoun, Nebraska collapsed early Sunday morning, allowing Missouri River flood waters to reach containment buildings and transformers and forcing the shutdown of electrical power.

As of Sunday night, backup generators were cooling the nuclear material at the Fort Calhoun Nuclear Station.  The plant has not operated since April, and officials say there is no danger to the public.

Nevertheless, federal inspectors are on the scene, and the federal government is so concerned that the head of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is headed to the plant.

Meanwhile, there was no protecting thousands of homes in Minot, North Dakota, where massive flooding of the Souris River hit its peak Sunday, flooding more than 4,000 homes.

There is some good news: The river in Minot peaked two feet lower than expected.  However, it is nearly 13 feet above flood stage and it is expected to stay near that level for days.

"It could be two to four to six weeks, or more, before the water actually goes back into it's banks ... [and] before [residents] get to come and see their houses," Brig. Gen. Bill Seekins of the North Dakota National Guard told ABC News during a tour through the flooded areas.

Seekins described the scene as "almost apocalyptic."

Minot Mayor Curt Zimbelman said the devastation may be even greater than expected.

"I think we're going to reach probably 4,500 [homes] before this is all done, where we've got a lot of water on these homes," Zimbelman said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jun242011

Souris River Hits Record High Flood Level in Minot, N.D.

Hemera Technologies/PhotoObjects.net/Thinkstock(MINOT, N.D.) -- The continuously rising Souris River has already broken a record high, set in 1881, in Minot, N.D., and it's still rising.

The historic flooding has forced more than 11,000 people from their homes, and giraffes, lions and other animals from the Roosevelt Park Zoo in Minot have been relocated to new homes.

Shelters continue to fill up. The flooding has already made the local history books, and it is not done yet.

"The water is coming in deeper and faster than was expected," North Dakota's governor, Jack Dalrymple, said Friday.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has released pent-up water from the Lake Darling Dam, which will push water downstream toward Minot at 29,000 cubic feet per second -- more than three times the record flow rate before this year and double the projections just four days ago. Those raging waters are expected to start pushing against the already buckling makeshift Minot levees rated to withstand water flows of up to about 9,500 cfs, according to WDAY.

The Souris River reached 1,558.52 feet above sea level at 12 p.m. Friday at the city's Broadway Bridge, according to U.S. Geological Survey data.

The National Weather Service is forecasting the river will crest at 1,564.5 feet by early Sunday, or 15.5 feet above flood stage. The level is expected to begin slowly falling early on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, a few miles upstream, the town of Burlington, located where the Souris and Des Lacs Rivers converge, has given up sandbagging as a hopeless endeavor. The town of 1,000 people is expected to lose a third of its 320 homes to flooding.

"We're no longer able to save the city," Burlington mayor Jerome Gruenberg said Thursday.

Meanwhile, the Tanganyika Wildlife Park, in Wichita, has taken in nine animals from the Roosevelt Park Zoo in Minot, including three giraffes, two lions, a Siberian tiger, a Bengal tiger and two Amur leopards.

Other animals were sent to zoos in Minnesota, South Dakota and North Dakota, while some are being housed in a warehouse in Minot outside of the flood zone.

Minot is also home to more than just families and exotic animals -- Minuteman III nuclear missile silos are also in the flood's path. At least two silos are being protected by sandbags and pumps, but are reported to be safe.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Jun222011

Sirens Blare as Flooding Hits North Dakota

Hemera Technologies/Photo.net/Thinkstock(MINOT, N.D.) -- Sirens blared Wednesday in Minot, N.D., as the overflowing Souris River floods over the top of local levees five hours before the evacuation deadline for 11,000 residents. Farther south, the overflowing Missouri River has put two nuclear power plants at risk, necessitated evacuations and produced a travel nightmare as interstate highways shut down.

"What I see right now is probably the most devastating in terms of the number of people directly impacted and what will likely be the damage to homes as the water begins to overtop the levees and fill in behind," National Guard Cmdr. Dave Sprynczynatyk said Wednesday.

Nearly 500 North Dakota National Guard soldiers are in the town of 41,000 people to help the last stragglers in the affected area get out of harm's way. They are accompanying the roaring sirens with shouts of "All residents must evacuate!"

"We've never seen anything like what we're expecting," Minot Mayor Curt Zimbleman told ABC News. The mayor had warned residents previously Wednesday that the river could top the levees earlier than expected, and has been urging residents to leave potentially affected areas.

Minot is expecting the worst flooding it has seen in nearly four decades, when severe flooding of the Souris River devastated the city in 1969. The same river reached 1,555.4 feet above sea level during that destructive flood time, and this time it could reach 1,563 feet.

This is the second time Minot residents have had to flee their homes. About 10,000 people were told to evacuate potentially affected areas earlier this month when the river climbed to 1,554 feet. They were eventually allowed to return, but were told to remain on high alert as heavy rain and the spring melt have swollen the river as it curves down from Canada.

For the second time in as many months, the Cass County Sheriff's Department airboat squads have been deployed to western North Dakota.

Farther south, the Missouri River is creating trouble in the area where the states of Missouri, Kansas, Iowa and Nebraska converge.

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission is closely watching conditions along the Missouri River where floodwaters are rising at Cooper Nuclear Station and the Fort Calhoun nuclear power plant in Nebraska.

The Fort Calhoun plant was shut down on April 7 for a refueling outage, and operators decided not to restart it until flooding had subsided. The Cooper plant was shut down for an "unusual event" on June 19. Although the Fort Calhoun plant was shut down on June and is surrounded by an eight-foot-tall and 16-foot-wide protective berm, two feet of water has already made its way to several areas of the Fort Calhoun plant. However, authorities say there is no immediate danger at either plant.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio