2013 Year in Review: Part 2 - KXNet.com - Bismarck/Minot/Williston/Dickinson-KXNEWS,ND

2013 Year in Review: Part 2

2013 Year in Review: Part 2

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Spring brought fears of flooding to much of the area this year.
As we continue our look at 2013's top stories, Jim Olson shows us what was making headlines in March and April.

Early March brought a major snow storm to this part of North Dakota - and to southern Saskatchewan - exactly where the Souris-Mouse River system runs.  And it was just one of many major snow events over a few weeks. Within a week of that storm, water managers increased winter releases from Lake Darling Dam - the last of three dams providing flood protection to Minot and other areas.  The releases were pushed to 150 CFS on March12th...just for comparison, Lake Darling is releasing 300 CFS right now and is expected to remain at that flow rate through the rest of the current winter. But last winter, the jump to 150 CFS was the first sign that management of the river was going to be more aggressive than it was in the flood year of 2011. 

By March 20th, the International Souris River Board had held a special meeting to declare that 2013 would be considered a flood year and operation of the river in the US would be taken over by the Corps of Engineers. It was then that Minot Mayor Curt Zimbelman expressed what many in the valley were feeling.

"We're nervous!"

and it was then that towns and agencies along the Mouse River began making plans for dealing with a major runoff from a very late melting of the huge snow pack.  Burlington Mayor Jerome Gruenberg traveled upstream along the Des Lacs River to inspect the situation, finding a still frozen Des Lacs Lake and worrying about what would happen in a sudden melt.

Jerome

By the end of March, the governor had issued a flood emergency declaration to free up state assistance and releases from Lake Darling Dam were ramped up to 800 CFS as the effort began to make extra space in the lake to handle what might be coming from Canadian dams sitting downstream of a record snow pack. 

In early April, releases from Lake Darling went to 2,800 CFS.  But by mid-April, a surprisingly low runoff from the large snow pack in Canada brought the scare to an end and releases from all dams were slashed. 

But that was not the end of flood concerns - the 2,800 CFS still flowing in the system was enough to push river gauges to some of their highest levels ever in places like Towner, where ranchers were forced to deal again with flooding, just months after getting the chance to get back onto land that had been washed out in the 2011 flood.  And there were problems in Logan -  both from the Mouse River and from sudden melting of snow on hills above the town.  The flash flood did damage to the middle of the small town in late April.

A shooting in downtown Williston left Derrick Spiegel of Williston dead, and led to the arrest of Jonathan Horvath as he fled across Montana.  Horvath was returned to Williston and is facing a trial on a murder charge next summer.

A stabbing at a man camp near Tioga killed Christopher King in mid-March.  Ryan Anderson was charged with murder in the case and is scheduled to go to trial in February.

In early March, a federal judge's ruling brought construction on the Northwest Area Water Supply project to a halt.  The judge ruled all work on the project must stop until she has issued a ruling on a lawsuit from opponents of NAWS.  The 150-million dollar project had been under construction for several years, while waiting for the outcome of the lawsuit.

Early April brought bad news for the effort to open the new Ramstad Middle School in Minot - a school being rebuilt at a new location after the old building was destroyed in the 2011 flood. It was decided the new school would not be ready for the start of the school year, so a new plan was hatched to extend the Thanksgiving break to allow for the move-in to be completed then, and have kids in the new school after Thanksgiving.

With 2013 in Review, Jim Olson, KX News.

 

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