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Off-topic post…

As some of you know, I grew up in the Red River Valley where the flood of the century is happening. Three of my brothers are still there.

My brother, Paul is a photographer and hasn’t had time to document as much of this historic event as he would like. He has been sandbagging for days on end.

He posted some pictures of the area where he was volunteering today:

The family who owns this house is winning the battle for now. What you can’t see in this picture is the makeshift sandbag dikes which run for miles and miles on each side of the river. What these folks have done is absolutely amazing. I was told that if the average citizen hadn’t volunteered to save this city, 80% of the city would be underwater right now.

They have 18 inches of snow on the ground and are praying for cold weather so it doesn’t melt. Another blizzard is on the way early next week and that’s better than rain.

What you aren’t hearing in the media As Bob Collins is reporting at MPR, these makeshift dikes leak and need to be manned 24/7 with pumps. As the water leaks in they pump it back out.

To win this battle they are going to have to keep this up for another week.

The city has built contingency dikes outside the the dikes pictured above.

The National Guard patrols the streets, but looting and anarchy aren’t a problem. These people have come together as a community to fight for their property and their lives. You can’t imagine how miserable these conditions are, how hopeless the national weather service told them it was, and they refuse to quit. There’s no whining and no complaining, only smiles and a little gallows humor. No one knows if they will win, history will be written after the snow melts and the floodwaters subside. And still, able bodied men and women are going door to door offering their help to anyone who needs it. The biggest problem is – too many volunteers.

If you’d like to see more photos from Paul E Olson’s coverage of the Fargo Moorhead flood of 2009, visit his website.

He’s taking a walk downtown this evening to capture more scenes, and if they have a story to tell, you’ll see them here.