It was one year ago today that thousands of people along the Mouse River were ordered to evacuate their homes.
May 31st, 2011 was the day that city officials held an early afternoon press conference to make the announcement that a Memorial Day weekend rain storm had made it very likely that water would rush over Minot's levees and flood the valley.
Jim Olson reports on a memorable day, one year ago.
(Curt Zimbelman, Minot Mayor) "The city of Minot is mandating a mandatory evacuation in the evacuation zones."
With that, people of Minot became very familiar with "evacuation zones" as the thousands of people living in the valley had to suddenly get what they could from their homes and get out.
(Where you guys going?) "To my brother-in-law's."
And suddenly, neighborhoods were packed with packing materials, trucks, trailers, vans, and people - friends, neighbors, relatives, all helping to remove as much as possible before the water hit.
The reason for the evacuation order was a major rain storm over the Memorial Day weekend that dumped six inches or more in places like Kenmare and Bowbells. Those areas drain into the Des Lacs River - which has no dams to hold back any water. That, coupled with the full reservoirs in Canada and a nearly full Lake Darling meant there was little to be done to avoid a catastrophic flood for Minot.
But it wasn't a total surrender - the city came up with a plan to build secondary dikes near schools and other key public facilities. Those secondary dikes would also protect hundreds, even thousands of homes. We were told there wasn't time to build up the entire levee structure through Minot, but the secondary dikes could provide some protection. That meant round the clock work to eat away a huge hill near Magic City Campus and spread that clay throughout town - where dikes might hold back the expected rush of water from the Des Lacs River.
As the sun sank on that unforgettable Tuesday, May 31, 2011, hopes among the public were sinking as well. But the very fact that there was a sunset to be seen - days of rain had finally come to an end - meant something else to officials trying to protect the city. That would lead to a different kind of memorable day for June First.
Tomorrow, we'll continue our look at the flood, one year later, and find out what changed the outlook from bleak to bright in the span of 24 hours.