MINOT, N.D. — Sirens in the North Dakota city of Minot sounded five hours ahead of a looming deadline Wednesday morning as the bloated Souris River began to overtop levees.
The warning was followed by an announcement saying, "All residents must evacuate, Zones 1 through 9," prompting the last of nearly 11,000 Minot residents to leave their homes for a second time in a month.
Robyn Whitlow, 27, was helping residents load the last of their belongings and burst into tears when the sirens sounded at 12:57 p.m.
"I feel so bad for everybody," said Whitlow, a Minot resident who lives outside the evacuation zone.
Water from the Souris River, which loops down from Canada through north central North Dakota, has been bloated by heavy spring snowmelt and rain on both sides of the border.
The resulting deluge is expected to dwarf a historic flood of 1969, when the Souris reached 1,554.5 feet above sea level. The river is expected to hit nearly 1,563 feet this weekend — eventually topping the historical record of 1,558 feet set in 1881.
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