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Low chance of flooding, students express relief

Students who have become accustomed to sandbagging may want to know: they will not be needed this year.

There’s a 6 percent chance of major flooding in Fargo-Moorhead this spring, according to a Feb. 16 Associated Press article. Fargo has a 53 percent chance of experiencing minor flooding, and there’s a 33 percent chance of minor flooding along the Red River.

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The good news is a relief for families as well as college students, who were asked in past flood relief efforts.
Senior Brandon Schutz said his choir ensemble got together to help sandbag MSUM choir teacher Rodney Rothlisberger’s home in 2009.

“He was just really happy about it. On that personal level, it just feels so good to be helpful,” Schutz said.
Schutz said a blizzard hit that year, and despite the terrible road conditions, he volunteered 20-30 hours of time at different locations in Fargo-Moorhead. While filling bags at the Fargodome, Schutz recalled sandbags freezing, making them harder to carry.

“(Sandbagging) wasn’t bad until you kept doing it for five to six hours. You got wore out after awhile, holding your arms out like this,” he said, extending his arms.

Schutz hopes there won’t be a need to sandbag again.

“It’s good in the sense that it did help build community, but bad that so many people’s lives and homes were in danger,” he said.

Sophomore Carissa Aanenson can attest that flooding hits home. Aanenson, a resident of Moorhead, organized a group of about 30 friends to help sandbag her aunt’s house in South Fargo last year. She said her aunt broke down when the volunteers arrived.

“We did what we could do. There was countless pallets (of sandbags). I don’t even know how many there were,” Aanenson said.

It only took four hours for the 30-some volunteers to finish sandbagging the house. Aanenson said she experienced community building in a time of need.

“There’s no words to explain what that felt like. One, everybody came to help you out, and two, you have that sense of security. It’s just awesome,” she said.

When the 2009 flood hit, Aanenson said she thought it was cool that her high school canceled classes, but many of her classmates abused the time instead of volunteering. After her positive experience sandbagging last year, Aanenson sees the situation as an opportunity.

“A disaster can turn into something so warming,” she said.

To the relief of many Fargo-Moorhead residents, any warming that will happen this year will most likely not result in a flood.

BY LANE ZYCOLOSKI
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