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Medora prepares for flooding

Press Photo by John Odermann The Little Missouri River near Medora will reach flood stage sometime this weekend and the city of Medora is bracing for the worst.

With the Little Missouri River once again on the rise, the Medora City Council and the Billings County Commission held a joint emergency meeting Friday to discuss their options in the event the river rises enough to threaten the town.

The city council and county commission made flood emergency declarations for their respective areas at the meeting held at the Billings County Courthouse in Medora.

The river sat at 14.56 feet late Friday evening and is expected to crest on Sunday evening at 17.2 feet.

Due to the fact the river gauge was broken during the last flooding event in March, the city and county was unaware of the height at which the city would be in danger.

It appears the city is in the clear for the time being after an elevation assessment Friday.

"We're not going to have to be diking or anything until around 18-feet," Billings County emergency Manager Pat Rummel said.

The previous record crest for the Little Missouri River in Medora was in 1947 when it peaked at 20.5 feet.

Rummel said it likely won't get close to that height and they would be safe up to 20 feet because the roads surrounding Medora create a natural dike.

County commission president Jim Arthaud said a plan needs to be in place if the projections begin to rise.

To prepare for the worst, Rummel sent 11 county trucks to Bismarck to pick up filled sandbags.

"We were concentrating on the full ones, because we don't have a lot of people to do that stuff," Rummel said.

In the event the river did reach a dangerous stage, Rummel said assistance would be called for from the local fire departments and possibly Dickinson State University students, although the fire departments would be the first line of defense.

Tentative plans were made to build an earthen dike on the Theodore Roosevelt National Park entrance road in west Medora if the river raised high enough to threaten the town.

The dike would stretch from behind the park's visitor center to the railroad tracks in south central Medora.

A meeting to reassess the situation and make further plans is scheduled for today at 9 a.m.

"We're going to have time," Rummel said regarding any additional step that might need to be taken. "We're going to have a day, day and a half that we would be able to do all of that stuff."

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