Nightly News   |  April 04, 2013

Fargo preps for dangerous flooding

As winter’s snow and ice continues to melt, Fargo expects to endure another year of high water on the Red River that could rival damage from 2009. NBC’s Kevin Tibbles reports.

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>>> they have asked all folks with free time to help out in a big effort to fill millions of sandbags to head off what they fear is coming. that's a devastating flood. nbc's kevin tibbles is with us from fargo tonight. kevin , good evening.

>> reporter: brian, it's become a rite of spring albeit an unwelcome one as folks in fargo are once again bracing for the red river to overflow its banks. they simply call it sandbag central.

>> this is a part of life in fargo .

>> reporter: here every spring hundreds of school kids and volunteers spend countless back-breaking hours.

>> you have fun making the sandbags because you can talk to your friends.

>> to help out the community is good.

>> reporter: this contraption is the spider. it doubles and redoubles the number of sandbags that can be filled. this year's goal, one million. they have to work fast. while winter has stuck around, a lot of snow and ice has to melt. fargo fully expects to endure another year of high water on the red river . many worry it could rival 2009 's record of almost 41 feet that cost the city some $50 million in damages.

>> the water is coming faster, higher and obviously more frequent now we have had including this year four and five years and that's a lot.

>> reporter: debate is heated over whether a water diversion should be built to take the overflow around and away from the city. in canada a diversion built in the '60s prevents the red from flooding the city of winnipeg . for fargo , this $2 billion project is still years away. for the foreseeable future they will continue to come together each spring, something that makes mayor wallaker proud.

>> it almost brings tears to your eyes to see the kids out there laughing. they've got a great feeling of being involved in the community.

>> reporter: stephen grassall from dear river is visiting fargo but decided to roll up his sleeves.

>> i think it is an american thing. volunteerism is not dead, they say. here is a good example.

>> reporter: most estimates suggest the red will reach flood stage in about ten days. while people here will come together and will try to hold it back, a lot of folks tonight are saying, brian, they are getting tired of it all.

>> kevin tibbles updating us on the situation in fargo , north dakota , tonight. kevin , thanks.