North Dakota is struggling with a number of devastating floods stemming from the swollen Souris River. A torrent of water is being feed into the river by unrelenting storms further north, as well as several dam releases that were meant to protect farmland communities.
So far, the river has broken a 130-year old record, and is currently the deepest it has ever been. State officials initially estimated that the river would crest at 8 feet, but later revised their estimates to a seemingly more likely 6.5 feet.
The city of Minot has been one of the hardest hit by the floods. City officials are reporting more than 4,000 homes have been flooded and more than 11,000 people have been displaced as a result of evacuations and home destruction. FEMA has come to aid the situation, and a number of insurance companies have sent agents to help with claims.
Smaller communities along the Souris River have not fared as well as Minot. Burlington, a town of 1,000 people, has seen most of its residents flee the floods as nearly half the town succumbed to surging waters. Sawyer, a town of only 350 people, was all but abandoned due to a mandatory evacuation issued by the state’s National Guard.
So far, no casualties have been reported, but the widespread damage has made the floods some of the most disastrous North Dakota has ever faced. Insurers are fielding thousands of claims and assisting in any way they are able.