Flood Risk Areas Evacuate; Residents Move Belongings Into Storage

Posted on Mar 23 2010 - 4:41pm by John Stevens

All across the United States, residents of areas that are at high-risk of flood left their homes last week and moved as many of their possessions as they could into storage. The National Weather Service warned on Tuesday that one third of the contiguous United States is at high risk for “historic flooding.” In many areas, the flooding has already begun.  

Record flooding devastated much of the Eastern Seaboard last week, and states of emergency were declared in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island. Before the flood began, though, many residents were determined to be ready. They put as many things into storage as they could, in

some cases emptying entire basements and the first floors of houses. Frankie Rizzuto, of Newport, Massachusetts, rented a moving truck and filled it with furniture. Some things she put in a garage, and the rest she placed

in a self-storage unit. She left a mattress at home, though. “I figured if things got real bad, we could float on the mattress,” she told a Boston Globe reporter. Residents who didn’t move everything that they could, especially in badly flooded towns such as Quincy, Massachusetts, often wished they had, as they watched their possessions drift away. “The freezer’s floating,” commented Kate Brown of Quincy to a reporter, pointing out her basement, which was full of water.

In Fargo, North Dakota, the Red River was expected to rise to 38 feet – which would put it 20 feet above flood level. On Wednesday, the river rose above 30 feet, as volunteers (including more than 1,000 children and teens) filled their one millionth sandbag and worked to construct dikes to hold the water back. At the same time, Fargo residents have begun moving some of their belongings, just in case the sandbags are unable to hold all of the water back.

“My mom and I looked at a storage unit my dad found in North Fargo. I will be moving my belongings….tomorrow,” wrote Danielle, a young adult blogger in Fargo, last weekend. Another Fargo resident, Halder Thompson, who lives just south of Fargo, told an Inforum reporter that he was moving most of his furniture to a rented storage unit – just in case.

Coincidentally, last week was also Flood Safety Awareness Week (in addition to being Clutter Awareness Week). According to the National Weather Service, floods are the most dangerous weather phenomena faced by Americans — more dangerous than tornados, hurricanes, and lightning. 

Sources used:

Associated Press. “Fargo residents defiant in face of flood warning: Red River expected to crest up to 20 feet above flood stage.” MSNBC. March 18, 2010.

Associated Press. “Fargo area at ‘major flood’ stage: locals optimistic; FEMA has supplies for 20,000—just in case.” MSNBC. March 18, 2010.

Globe Staff. “Scenes from the wet and weary: flooded basements, besieged dams, and evacuations affect the region.” Boston Globe. March 16, 2010.

Koumpilova, Mila. “Fargo/Cass: Walaker: Tough week lies ahead.” Inforum. March 15, 2010.

“Let’s get it started.” Wanderlust – ND style. March 6, 2010.

National Weather Service. “NOAA: Imminent flood threat in Midwest, South and East also at risk.” March 16, 2010.