Flood risk forces 10,000 to evacuate N Dakota town

June 21, 2011 - 11:15 AM

MINOT, N.D. (AP) — Officials say thousands of Minot residents must evacuate their homes before the Souris River overtops levees for the second time this year in the worst flooding the North Dakota city has seen in four decades.

The river reached 1,555.4 feet above sea level in 1969. The National Weather Service predicts the river will reach nearly 1,563 feet by the weekend. Officials say river flows will be three times the record amount, and that water will top the emergency levees.

Mayor Curt Zimbelman says the flooding in Minot could be "catastrophic."

The river is bloated by heavy spring snowmelt and rain.

Authorities ordered about 10,000 residents to evacuate their homes earlier this month, then allowed them to return. Those residents have been ordered to leave again by Wednesday night.