Ready for the Flood - KXNet.com - Bismarck/Minot/Williston/Dickinson-KXNEWS,ND

Ready for the Flood

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The exact output from Canadian dams may be a bit murky - but it's clear what the high flows are doing to property upstream of where the Mouse River dumps into Lake Darling.

Downstream from Lake Darling, the output is controlled by the Lake Darling Dam, but upstream, the river level depends on what's coming from Canada.

Jim Olson has an update with the people who are first to see that water.

It was five below zero at the Hanson ranch on the US-Canadian border Tuesday morning. And Greg Hanson is just finishing the task of moving his ranch from the normal pens to a hillside because the Mouse River is about to cover his land.

(Greg Hanson, Renville Co. Rancher) "GOt a few gates to tie down, make sure the shop is cleaned out, stuff up in the hay mound in the barn, and when the water starts coming through the yard shut the power off at the pole and head for the hill with the cows."

Hanson is upset that releases into a frozen river channel are causing a flood at his ranch before there's even any snow melting in the region.

(Greg Hanson, Renville Co. Rancher) "They need to push it through quicker, earlier in the year so that when our melt comes we don't have a full river channel. Our melt is going to happen one of these days and there's nowhere for it to go except through everybody's yards. It's just stupid."

To keep his couple hundred cattle safe, he cleared off some space on the hill overlooking his pens - where cows, calves, and horses are now waiting out this early flood.

It's a process he's completing just in time.

(Greg Hanson, Renville Co. Rancher) "The river now is at 19.44, and at 21 feet it's going to be coming through my yard. And the ice is still jamming up the channel and with five below zero and 20s for highs, the ice ain't going nowhere."

Looking at the river, you can see the issues - ice is blocking the flow of the river, forcing the level of the water higher than it would normally be at these flow rates. It's the same story on the county road south of the Hanson ranch - and farther downstream at Mouse River Park - where water rushing over the paved road entrance on the park's west side has caused the closure of that road. For the people living upstream of Lake Darling, there's little to do but watch and hope the ice goes out soon and the river's level can drop once again.

(Greg Hanson, Renville Co. Rancher) "Everything's up on the hill and safe, and Tami and I and the kids are safe..."

Near Sherwood, Jim Olson, KX News.

The Hansons' house used to sit near the river gage but it was flooded in 2011 and the family moved the house to a hill to end any chance of another flood hitting the house.

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