Skip to main content

An intense effort to save towns near and along the Red River in far northeastern North Dakota is ongoing as a key dam has been pushed to the brink by rising water. 

Pembina in North Dakota and surrounding small towns are already inundated with flood waters. The river gauge at Pembina gave a reading of 51.5 feet Wednesday morning, which is more than 12 feet above flood stage and just 3.4 feet shy of the record crest set during the devastating floods of 1997. 

The river is forecast to continue rising to a crest of 53 feet this weekend, which would be the second highest crest ever measured in Pembina. 

Authorities said closed Highway 5 near Cavalier – located about 7 miles southwest of Pembina – because of "possible imminent rupture" of the Bourbanis Dam,. 

North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum activated the National Guard on Tuesday, and the Guard immediately responded with two Black Hawk helicopters helping place 119 one-ton sandbags in areas of most concern, including at the dam. 

"Crews will remain in place overnight to monitor Bourbanis Dam for any changes," emergency management officials announced Tuesday night. 

A massive effort to protect the Pembina included students filling 5,000 sandbags on Tuesday, with 2,000 more expected to be filled Wednesday. As of Tuesday, water was on the edge of Interstate 29 in Pembina in "a few small areas," officials said. 

Sign up: Subscribe to our BREAKING NEWS newsletters

Levels at the Renwick Dam near Cavalier were dropping on Tuesday, though officials said "there is still potential for high flows from Bourbanis Dam resulting a rise in the levels at Renwick Dam."

The town of Neche, which is located 7 miles west of Pembina and located along the Pembina River, was surrounded by water as of Tuesday. A command center in the town is monitoring the dike and had been successfully repairing breaches as they occurred, emergency management said. 

Fortunately, there is no rain in the forecast until Sunday or early next week. 

Next Up

Brandon Gardas

St. Michael standoff suspect charged, bail set at $10 million

A judge on Monday set the high bail due to "very significant concerns of public safety" regarding Brandon Gardas.

20210722_hhc_570

Minnesota's premier trauma center housed at HCMC

The Minneapolis center is nationally recognized in pediatric trauma

Crisp & Green

Crisp & Green opening 13th store in Twin Cities in July

The fast-casual salad and grains restaurant has exploded onto the food scene.

FLickr - Target Field 2019 - mark grabe

Twins to host post-game concert with country star at Target Field

Country singer Cole Swindell is expected to perform for up to 75 minutes after the conclusion of the Blue Jays-Twins contest.

10974344_886755688011981_7448860726679919201_o

Canton Restaurant closes after nearly 40 years in Burnsville

It's the end of an era in the Twin Cities restaurant world.

Screen Shot 2022-06-27 at 12.47.20 PM

Luck strikes in Minnesota: lottery winners in Duluth, Grand Marais

The North Shore just so happened to be a lucky place to be this past weekend.

covid

Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Monday, June 27

BA.5 is expected to become the dominant subvariant in Minnesota.

police lights squad car

60-year-old woman arrested after firing shots inside Spicer home

SWAT evacuated nearby residents during the incident.

Florida Georgia Line

Florida Georgia Line booked to play at the Minnesota State Fair

The band is the second country music act to be booked this year.

monkeypox

First case of monkeypox confirmed in Minnesota

The Minnesota Department of Health says the risk to the public is "considered low" at this time.

Related

279266789_366461448855089_3188353801825191649_n

Rain to soak flood-stricken parts of MN, ND through Sunday

At a minimum, as the City of Grand Forks says, "The rain will slow down how fast the river goes down."

Screen Shot 2022-06-26 at 10.02.59 AM

North Dakota's only abortion clinic relocating to Minnesota

A GoFundMe set up to help the clinic make the move to Minnesota has surpassed its $500,000 goal.

Officer Tim Brown

West Fargo police officer suffers heart attack after arresting suspects

The officer collapsed and was unresponsive at the jail.

Screen Shot 2019-12-29 at 9.16.17 AM

Freeways shut down as North Dakota gets slammed by blizzard

Parts of northwest Minnesota are also under the gun Sunday.

flooding near Hastings

Minnesota bracing for possible significant spring flooding

The best-case scenario will be little snow and a stretch of dry, warm conditions.

Screen Shot 2019-03-15 at 10.51.45 AM

North Dakota looks like a wasteland in wake of powerful blizzard

Interstates and highways are littered with buried vehicles.