On June 22, 2011, at 12:57 p.m., the sirens sounded throughout the Mouse River valley in Minot.
Parks and athletic fields, dozens of churches, thousands of homes…all washed away.
Now, 10 years later, so much across the city has been rebuilt and a billion-dollar flood protection project is in the works.
KX News sat down with one of the thousands of families who will never forget the 2011 flood no matter how many years go by.
This front porch [see video above], built just recently, was the final finishing touch for Bryan and Cindy Kramer’s home.
“We always dreamt of having a front porch on the house,” Bryan said, “and we just put it off until last week when we decided to go for it and we did it…at the most expensive time to build with lumber prices…but we just wanted to do it so we can enjoy some time in our neighborhood.”
The anniversary is approaching when this home and about 4,000 others were underwater.
“Immediately, when I found out what kind of levels of water they were talking about [back in 2011] I got online and made a call and found out that the water was probably going to be right at about our gutter line,” said Bryan. “And that’s exactly where it ended up. So we’d be sitting under 5 or 6 feet of water right now.”
KX News’ Becky Farr sat on the Kramer’s front porch as Bryan recounted what all he endured when the levees breached and it seemed the only way the Magic City would get through the natural disaster that inundated the area would be by magic.
Bryan remembered, “That [the sirens] just really was the punctuation that said this is really happening, we’re going to be under a lot of water, we’ve lost our house.”
Back in 2011, he and Cindy were just two years away from paying off their house.
“So that will be the biggest residual effect,” he said, “is we’re still paying a mortgage until I’m, I don’t know, 75-80 years old.”
The money from the federal government at the time was just enough to gut and clean what was left of their home.
The cost of rebuilding was about a third more than what they originally paid for it.
“It was a little bit of a kick,” Bryan said. “But what do you do? You either buy a new place and spend the money and lose what you already had here. We contemplated that pretty heavily. Just getting out of here.
It was really the camaraderie of the neighborhood. We’d all sit in our driveways, pumping our basements empty with a bag chair and a cooler and everyone kind of socializing. In a way, it was kind of a fun time for our neighborhood. We have tremendous neighbors here and that’s why we came back.”
So as the Kramers and many others in the valley know all too well that they remain smack in the middle of the floodplain…a big question a decade later: Are they protected?
The answer to that question? No. But they will be.
Becky will explain where flood protection stands right now, Thursday on KX News at 10, in part II of Navigating the Waters of Flood Protection.