North Dakota towns battling floods felt more hope Wednesday after officials said a bridge would reopen into one stricken town and the flood threat eased at a dam protecting another town.
"It feels good," said Valley City Mayor Mary Lee Nielson of the reopening of a bridge at one of her town's main entrances.
She said residents of the town of about 7,000 people still should stay away until the broken sewer system is repaired. It failed last week under pressure from the swollen Sheyenne River.
Businesses in a North Dakota town threatened by flooding are being allowed to reopen following temporary repairs to the damaged sewer system.
The sewer system in Valley City failed last Friday when it was overwhelmed by the Sheyenne River.
Nielson said Wednesday that the system is not fully back to normal and residents of the town of about 7,000 people still are being asked to use portable toilets.
The National Weather Service said the Sheyenne River at Valley City had fallen to less than 19 feet by Wednesday afternoon, still more than three feet above flood stage. It had risen to more than 20 feet.
About 30 miles away, Jamestown also got some good news. The Army Corps of Engineers lowered the projected peak for the Jamestown Dam by 2 feet, which still would be a foot above the dam's emergency spillway.
The dam, along the James River, is one of two dams north of the city. The corps' revised forecast said no spillover is expected at the second dam.
Jamestown officials said more than 600,000 sandbags have been filled to protect the city from the spillover.
The revised water levels forecast won't change the corps' plans to release water from the dams to make way for expected rainfall Thursday and Friday, and possibly into the weekend.
"We'll ramp up to whatever the levees will hold," said Tim Temeyer, a corps water control chief.