Above is the inundation and evacuation map for Minot, North Dakota. A more detailed PDF is available. At least 2500 homes have already been flooded and up to 5000 homes are in harms way as the flood crests today. Most are not covered by federal flood insurance.
The flooding of the Souris River raises many of the same policy and strategy questions we have engaged with other floods, the triple-header crisis in Japan, and the wildfires in the Southwest. Toward the top of the list:
- What is the appropriate place of low frequency, high consequence events in planning, preparedness, and — especially — public engagement?
- How and when does our desire to manage risk unintentionally increase our risk exposure?
- What is the appropriate balance of public sector accountability, private sector accountability, and personal accountability in preparedness, prevention, mitigation, response, and recovery?
These questions also apply to earthquake, nuclear terrorism, cyberterrorism, dam failure, a range of industrial accidents, and much more.
The flooding story is national headline news. Three sources for a more local angle:
Ward County, North Dakota Emergency Management information (Extensive resources)
SUNDAY UPDATE: On Saturday rain fell across the Souris watershed, but in lesser amounts than predicted. It appears that the crest has been reached in Minot, several inches below worst case projections. The crest is, nonetheless, substantially above the previous historic record and will be slow to recede.