Friday, June 24, 2011


Before last month I had never been in the state of North Dakota. When we took “The Empire Builder” there was a scheduled stop in Minot, North Dakota. It was a brilliantly sunny day, with nary a cloud in the sky. We stepped off the train onto the platform to stretch our legs and breathe the fresh spring air. We were in Minot much longer than anticipated because of a problem with one of the cars. We eventually reboarded the train and continued on our way.

Within a few hours the sky grayed; clouds deepened. Somewhere in North Dakota or perhaps over the line into Montana, the landscape changed. The image below is not a photograph of a lake. It is the flat of the northern prairie inundated with water. The wave you see is actually the wake from the train as it moved ever so slowly across the flooded railroad tracks. Once we were safely back on dry track, the train was stopped while the conductor and crew got out to inspect the undercarriage to be sure we had not picked up any debris.

Right now, Minot, North Dakota is experiencing the worst flooding it has known in over 130 years. The Souris River runs through the heart of Minot and is continuing to overtake the city of 40,000. Nearly 10,000 people have been evacuated. The Roosevelt Park Zoo has also been evacuated. The river is already 9 1/2 feet above flood stage. The crest may be reached on Sunday at 15 1/2 feet above flood.

Here’s one way you can help the people of Minot:
American Red Cross, Mid-Dakota Chapter.

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