Heavy rain, flooding return to North Dakota

Heavy Rains
Dane Petersen, left, talks on this cell phone after his car was caught in high water in Bismarck, N.D., Tuesday. "I thought I could make it but I couldn't," said Petersen. He was later towed from the scene.Tom Stromme / The Bismarck Tribune via AP
/ Source: The Associated Press

Heavy rain pounded flood-weary North Dakota for a second day Tuesday, swamping streets, stressing storm sewers and stalling vehicles. Roads were shut down, and the roof of a bowling alley collapsed under the weight of water.

The National Weather Service said its reports ranged from 5.6 inches at the Bismarck airport since Monday to more than 7 inches east of the city with about an inch falling in an hour Tuesday afternoon.

"I don't remember us getting this much water," said Bismarck public works spokesman Bob Stenehjem.

The owner of Midway Lanes Bowling Alley in Mandan, Jim Mellon, said about 50 people got out of the building safely after the roof caved in sometime after 8:30 p.m. Monday, when the area got about 6 inches of rain. He said no one was hurt. Mellon estimated the damage at up to $2 million, and said 20 lanes at the bowling alley likely will have to be replaced.

Also damaged were a liquor store, an insurance office and a trophy shop in the building.

The storm brought back memories of March and April, when rivers and streams flooded across North Dakota, pushed by heavy rain, snow and ice. Fargo, in the eastern part of the state, was threatened by the Red River. In Bismarck, huge ice jams on the Missouri River forced evacuation of an estimated 1,700 residents and crews used plastic explosives to move the ice and get the water flowing.

"The bright side is, we're not dealing with the ice this time," Burleigh County Commission Chairman Jim Peluso said. "So the water is doing what it's supposed to do. It's backing up where it's supposed to. We don't have any surprises like we did in March and April."

The National Weather Service said Apple Creek, east of Bismarck, could set a record at 17 feet, about 2 feet above flood stage. County authorities said sandbags would be available.

The National Weather Service said Bismarck's 3.2 inches of rain Monday topped the mark of just over 3 inches set on the same date in 1953.