As many of you realize, I have been a little busy lately, first with work 14 hours a day then with the flood preparations. Yes, flood preparations. You see for the first time in its history Bismarck is going to have a major flood, an all-out-holy-shit kind of flood, the kind of flood we only thought happened elsewhere. Oh, we have had minor ones before and there are a few river areas that habitually flood a little, but for the first time in memory, the Army Corps of engineers is rapidly building dikes down our streets. People are sandbagging individual houses and entire blocks. Entire main thoroughfares are closed down just so the dirt hauling trucks can get to the dike construction areas faster. Yet even if the dike will be finished in time and even if it holds back the waters, there are about 5,600 people in 1300 homes outside the dike’s protection. These people will have to fend for themselves against the rising waters. The unofficial word is just take what you value and leave. This is likely going to be the worst disaster in Bismarckian history.
This started out as a potential major disaster that we thought we had plenty of time to prepare for, but has rapidly turned into an unbelievable mess with which our time to prepare is coming to an end. Every day the Corps of Engineers has raised the projected flow rate of the water they have to release from the Garrison Dam, 60 miles to the North, and has moved up the date when they are to do this. First it was 105,00 Cubic Feet per Second towards the end of June but now with all the rainfall in Montana and the snowpack beginning its thaw, they have now stated that by the 2nd of June (just 4 days away) the flow will be 120,000 CFS and 150,000 CFS a week later. By Yahweh’s fossilized shit, we are screwed! If you doubt this check out this map. All that blue area is the area that will be flooded. All the checkers area will be protected if the dike holds. If not, paint all that blue also. To give you an idea of the scale of this, the rivers normal width is less that a tenth of what is projected here and that other 9/10 that is projected to be the river is currently inhabited.
With this flood, we stand to lose 500 houses if everything goes right and the dike holds. If the dike doesn’t hold, and remember this is a hastily engineered and constructed dirt dike that will have to hold up to two months, if it doesn’t hold we stand to lose a quarter of the city. The damage is projected to be in the hundreds of millions of all goes well and into the billions if not. It boggles my mind. I grew up with the infallability of that Dam’s protection as a article of faith so-to-speak if such a phrase may be used on this site, but now, I have learned a great deal about the fallibility of the infallible. I have been sandbagging for 8 hours a day for the last five days. My body aches every time I move, yet there are weeks of work left. We have filled 850,000 bags in the last five days. They now say we need 4,000,000 more in the next four days as a start. I fear the future here.
As a clarification I must say that the Blessed Atheist’s house is wisely built on a hill, but I have dozens of friends who are on the flood plain below and have met dozens more bottom dwellers while loading sandbags onto their trucks for them to fortify their houses.
And what do we do about it? Read as much of this as you can stomach then turn to the discussion tab at the top. You’ll notice the first commenter had a something interesting to say. A rather suave and persuasive commenter at that, I must admit. Then you’ll see, of course, what the rest of Bismarck consists of.
Sigh. The city’s in desperate trouble. We simple can’t get enough sandbags filled, but we’ll sit around talk to our imaginary friend begging him to stop the flood which he created.
What… the… fuck?
I love these people here, but Jesus Christ in a piece of toast, sometimes I swear this town could use an enema. There’s a certain constipation in their thinking.
My son and I were going to go on a two week vacation/work trip to New Jersey but have cancelled in light of the approaching doom. I just couldn’t bear to be away from my community in its time of need. I will be spending at least eight hours a day from here on filling sandbags. Me and the National Guard… and a couple of others… and Aleve and caffeine…
Wish me luck!