FARGO, N.D. - The National Weather Service says residents along the Red River in Fargo and neighboring Moorhead, Minn., should prepare for one of the top five floods in their history.
Flood stage for the river is 18 feet. The flood outlook released Thursday says there's a 50 percent chance that the river will top 38 feet. That would top the fifth-highest crest of 37.34 feet in 1969.
Officials blame the increasing flood dangers on recent snow and continued cold, which has not allowed the ground to thaw. Frozen soil does not easily absorb snow melt and rain.
Fargo officials say they believe the city is still in good shape because of recent flood protection improvements, but they plan to make 500,000 sandbags to add to a reserve of 750,000 bags.
Fargo-Moorhead residents battled three straight major floods beginning in 2009, when the record crest of nearly 41 feet forced thousands to evacuate and caused an estimated $100 million in damage.