Well to our north, Mother Nature has some bad intentions, just like she did more than a decade ago...
I quite honestly never thought it could get worse than the Spring of 1997. It just might.
I was a freshman at Grand Forks Central High School in North Dakota at the time. In the months prior, we had been hit with multiple blizzards that dropped more than 100 inches of snow during the winter. The powder eventually turned liquid, and the Red River of the north swelled.
In hindsight, the disaster was almost hurricane-like when it came to preparations. You knew flooding was coming, and you could do work for days to get ready, but Mother Nature will often do what she wants.
My parents and I lived on the Air Force base miles from Grand Forks, which sits on the river, but we joined with the masses who worked to fill hundreds of thousands of sandbags to try and stop the waters from infiltrating North Dakota's third biggest city. For days, we all prepared, but it was a losing battle.
As best I can recall, more than 80 percent of the city was flooded. My high school, three stories tall in the downtown area, had water above the first floor ceiling. Just down the street just days after the flood, a huge fire broke out that destroyed 11 buildings. We led the network news nightly. President Clinton came to visit refugees who spent what seemed like an eternity in the base's hangars, sleeping on cots, a bag of clothes to their name if they were lucky.
I never thought it could get worse. That, I thought...I hoped...would be a once-in-a-lifetime event. Now comes word that it's on the verge of happening again in a matter of days to the south. Estimates have 1.5 million sandbags needed to protect Fargo, which wasn't hit even close to as hard as Grand Forks in 1997.
New protections in place in the aftermath of 1997's event should protect Grand Forks, which has rebounded beyond a lot of expectations since that infamous spring, but you never know what Mother Nature has in mind. I just fear NoDaks are in for that once-in-a-lifetime flood twice in about a decade.