For those of you who have checked the About page, it should be no surprise that for the last week or so, I've been watching the flooding in North Dakota closely. Fortunately, my family and friends are safe and relatively warm and dry; however, with the Red River of the North headed towards a crest of 43 feet (by-passing the record crest of the 1897 flood) and with residents' too recent memories of the 1997 flood and Grand Forks' destruction, they are understandably anxious and worried.
From a distance of over 1500 miles, I've been incredibly impressed with the area's ability to get information out and recruit volunteers. Like most places, North Dakota currently has a group of people who have thoroughly integrated technology into their lives, a group that hasn't, and a group that is somewhere in between, so the effort to get information out has been a combination of traditional and new media efforts. In addition to round-the-clock news coverage from the Fargo Forum, KFGO, and KVLY TV, technology played a key role. A few of the tools that are being used and that might interest Technola readers:
- Twitter: People are reporting the current flood stage and other current news. (Search hashtags: #flood09, #fargoflood, #redriver, #NDfloods.)
- A Facebook group is a place to connect with others and gather information.
- Mapping is being used to create a mashup of flood announcements, display areas being evacuated, and identify areas in danger at different flood stages.
- Automatic telephone notifications are being used to round up volunteers and notify people who need to evacuate.
- YouTube videos are being used to instruct people on how to build a sandbag dike and show what sandbagging is like.
People unfamiliar with the North Dakota landscape may enjoy this great series of photos from USGS pointed out on Twitter by Steve Drees. They document the rise of the river in Grand Forks, North Dakota, which is about 100 miles north of Fargo. You can also check out the Fargo SkyCam to see the level of the Red River to see the current level there.
Although I feel like we have to mention it too often, free legal resources exist for people recovering from disasters at National Disaster Legal Aid site. In addition, ABA LTRC posted a round up of disaster resources yesterday. - K