Jun 22 2011

Live Footage of Souris River Flooding in Minot, ND

Map picture


The impending flooding of the Souris River in Minot, North Dakota is expected to surpass the historic flood of 1969 by almost 9 feet and the historic record of 1881 by 5 feet. As amazing as this is, remember that Minot is a town of only about 40,000 people and this flood has already affected over 10,000 of these residents.

The crowd at Monday’s City Hall press conference sat in stunned silence, followed by a few brief murmurs, when it was revealed that releases into the Souris from Lake Darling Dam would be ramped up to “16 or 17,000 cfs by Thursday.” Minot’s existing dike system laboriously protects against 10,000 cfs. The previous high release for Lake Darling prior to this flood event was less than 5,000 cfs. Numbers all along the Souris are similarly stunning, shocking and, ultimately, saddening.

There is a live feed (HT: Bob Meacham) of the river from the water plant and note how you can currently (as of 11am MST June 22) see that the bridge is already experiencing pressure flow. Look at how close the water is to overtopping the downstream levees into those neighborhoods to the left and right of the channel. There is just nowhere else for the river to go.

Free live streaming by Ustream


Here is a map of where the camera of the live stream video is located:

Map picture


The overtopping of the levees/dikes is imminent. Be thinking about these displaced folks as you watch the footage and the flooding over the next week.

Update: Minot’s levees are designed to protect up to 10,000 cfs. Here is the link to the gage:

USGS 05117500 Souris River Above Minot, ND


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  1. The Hanlin's

    Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone in Minot. We pray for compassion for each other, strength to see you through the next challenge to come. Hang in there, Minot!!

  2. Dan

    Hey I found your site while trying to beat the Minot city planners at their own game. I lost my home to this massive flood and in my spare time I’ve been trying to learn more about how it all works. In particular Im trying to figure out how wide a levee system would be to successfully hold back the 30k cfs that the new system would require. My home is about 300feet (1 city block) from the river and I’m curious what my chances are of being in the path of this new levee. How wide would a levee be that can handle 30k cfs including access roads setbacks etc etc. Thanks for any and all help or info!!

    1. Anthony Alvarado

      Dan, I’m really sorry for the loss of your home, I honestly can’t imagine what that is like. I understand your questions but there is a lot involved in the design of a levee between the hydraulic modeling, any setback distance, the specific event (100yr/500yr, etc) to protect for, and how the whole city levee system works together. There is likely to be a lot of alternative analyses occurring as officials weigh the cost, level of protection, and even environmental concerns. It’s no small process nor should it be. Given that, I can’t say how wide it would be or if your home would be in the path. I know that is probably a frustrating answer but there really is a lot that goes into the design of a levee!

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