Crews worked in strong winds to reinforce a southeastern North Dakota dam spillway that was being eroded by flood waters Sunday, and nearby farms were evacuated as a precaution.
The earthen Cottonwood Creek Dam at Lake LaMoure is about 20 miles from the nearest community and its greatest threat is to farms and roads, State Water Commission assistant engineer Todd Sando said. A Black Hawk helicopter from Fargo dropped about 80 1-ton sandbags, and bulldozers pushed rock into the spillway.
"It's stable right now but it's not under control," Sando said at mid-afternoon. "Right now, we've got lots of wind that's blowing a lot of water, making big waves. I'd feel a lot better if the wind dies down."
LaMoure County officials asked for help late Saturday night after erosion problems worsened on the spillway, a channel designed to handle an emergency volume of water on a tributary of the James River.
In Jamestown, along the James River, there was some good news Sunday. The Army Corps of Engineers said its updated forecasts show water will not flow over the spillway at Pipestem Dam north of the city as earlier predicted, because flows into the dam were lower than expected.
Valley City, about 30 miles from Jamestown, has been battling the Sheyenne River, which overwhelmed its sewer system. Residents in the community of about 7,000 were advised to leave after the system failed Friday.
The Barnes County Sheriff's Office in Valley City reported no major problems Sunday. The National Weather Service said the Sheyenne had dropped just below its record level of 20 feet was not expected to drop much during the week.