Generous residents help neighbors in flooded Minot

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“We’ve kept it together pretty well, although it’s not to say we’re a solid rock through this,” Mr. Pancoast said, sipping coffee at the kitchen table of Ms. Williamson’s ranch-style house. “It’s one thing to go and visit somebody and stay in their house and enjoy their hospitality for a couple of days. It’s another thing to move in indefinitely and wonder, ‘Have we overstayed our welcome?’”

Mr. Johnson was staying with parishioners David and Laurie Weber. Their teenage sons, Preston and Dylan, accompanied him to Velva after spending Thursday on their bikes, going door-to-door to help evacuees move furniture.

A common sight was garages packed with televisions, books, clothing and other items as residents turned their homes into temporary storage units for flood victims. Ms. Williamson was keeping things for students at Minot State.

Across the street, a trailer stuffed with household belongings stood in Air Force Capt. Derek Cumbie’s driveway. His garage was a veritable warehouse after several friends dropped off their things.

Two were staying with Capt. Cumbie, 26, who is stationed at Minot Air Force Base.

“I’ve been really impressed with how people in this community are helping each other, so I wanted to do my part,” he said.

On Friday, the river had been expected to peak at about 9 feet above major flood stage, but it leveled off and rose by only tiny amounts Saturday. The National Weather Service dropped the projection by just more than 2 feet as upstream flows weakened. Mr. Ayd said a storm that hit the city Saturday night had little effect.

City officials applauded when Minot Mayor Curt Zimbelman announced the peak forecast at a news conference. He warned the sustained high water flows were likely to last for three to four days, enough to put significant strain on the city’s newly built earthen levees.

“You’ve got that deterioration on the dikes. If you see how fast that water is moving, it’s scary,” Mr. Zimbelman said. “We’re concerned that we can hold it, and it’s critical that we keep a vigilant eye on this.”

Minot’s Broadway Street Bridge over the Souris, which is its most important connection between the north and south sections of the city, is likely to remain closed until the crest recedes, the mayor said.

On Sunday, North Dakota National Guard soldiers were monitoring a submerged pedestrian bridge to make sure it didn’t break off in the river channel. The bridge has been trapping debris and could harm nearby levees. Maj. Gen. David A. Sprynczynatyk, the guard’s adjutant general, said soldiers were ready to pull it out if it came loose.

Problems at Minot’s water treatment plant prompted the state Department of Health to issue a “boil order” on Saturday for users of city water. It also applies to the Minot Air Force Base, about 13 miles north of town, which gets its drinking water from Minot’s municipal system.

Mr. Zimbelman said city officials were “not completely sure at this point” that Minot’s water supply had been contaminated.

“It has not been fully tested … to show that it is contaminated,” Mr. Zimbelman said. “There is just a concern at this point, so we’re taking precautions.”

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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