Friday, June 24, 2011

Thousands flee in terror as North Dakota town is hit by worst flooding in decades... and water threatens NUCLEAR silos - 24th June 2011

Residents of Minot, North Dakota, fled their homes in panic today as devastating floods from the overflowing Souris River left entire neighbourhoods under water.

More than 11,000 residents, almost a quarter of the population, have already been forced to flee as waters continue to rise towards historic levels - the biggest floods in the region in four decades.

And there were fresh fears today as Minot is also home to Minuteman III nuclear missile silos - which are situated directly in the flood's path. Soldiers and emergency workers piled sandbags and pumps at the sites today in a bid to protect the silos from flooding.

Last night Curt Zimbelman, mayor of the town of 41,000, said: 'We could have a really catastrophic type of event here. We will - there is no doubt about it anymore. I think people have to understand if you were on the edge before you may not be on the edge now.'

The warning was followed by an announcement saying: 'All residents must evacuate, Zones 1 through 9,' prompting the last of nearly 11,000 Minot residents to leave their homes for a second time in a month.

Robyn Whitlow, 27, who was helping some residents move the last of their belongings, burst into tears when the sirens sounded just before 1pm.

'I feel so bad for everybody,' said Mrs Whitlow, a Minot resident who lives outside the evacuation zone.

The Souris River, which loops down from Canada through north central North Dakota, has been bloated by heavy spring snowmelt and rain on both sides of the border.

The resulting deluge is expected to dwarf a historic flood of 1969, when the Souris reached 1,555.4ft above sea level, the Associated Press reports.

The river is expected to hit nearly 1,563ft this weekend - eventually topping the historical record of 1,558 feet set in 1881.

Mr Zimbelman warned on Wednesday morning that the river would top the levees earlier than expected and said residents still moving their belongings from the evacuation zone should 'do their last-minute thing and be prepared to move quickly.' Read More

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