CAP members are filling and stacking hundreds of thousands of sandbags near the civic center in Fargo, N.D., as well as outside a radio station in the city. CAP aircrews also are making damage assessment flights, as weather permits, taking photos to help protect critical infrastructure.
North Dakota and Minnesota have been hit with multiple weather emergencies in recent days as flooding persists along the Red River and its tributaries. A severe blizzard blew through most of the region earlier this week, blanketing the ground with thick heavy snow. Power lines are down in western North Dakota and a massive ice jam has blocked the Missouri River south of Bismarck, N.D., causing the evacuation of residents. Ice jams have caused several other smaller evacuations.
Much of the Fargo, N.D.-Moorhead, Minn., metropolitan area has become an island with the closing of most roads in and out of area communities due to flooding and snowdrifts.
Over the past three days, more than 150 Civil Air Patrol members from the North Dakota and Minnesota wings have participated in sandbagging operations as well as limited damage assessment flights for local emergency managers.
Operations began on Monday with teams from both wings sandbagging at various locations in the Fargo area, such as the Fargo Dome, where members assisted with filling thousands of sandbags an hour.
CAP members also assisted radio station KFGO in Fargo. Four teams of members assisted local residents with sandbagging operations that helped protect this critical emergency communications point for the community. The station is still up and broadcasting.
Air operations branch director, North Dakota Wing Col. Walt Vollmers, plans to launch flight crews from Fargo and Grand Forks as soon as weather permits. The air crews will be tasked with taking damage assessment photography of communities along the Red River and the rising lakes in northeast North Dakota.
CAP members also are assisting with disaster relief operations near Crookston, Minn.
“I am very proud of the members of Civil Air Patrol who are coming from all parts of both states to help in this time of need,” said Minnesota Wing Commander Col. Thomas Theis.
Civil Air Patrol is maintaining a Web site that notes communication to members and digital images of its efforts at ncrpao.org/specials/2009_floods/index.htm
For more information: GoCivilAirPatrol.com.