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March 30, 2009
Red River begins a slow retreat
Fargo residents came together at churches Sunday and prayed they would be spared the Red River's wrath as water burst a levee and swamped a school, providing a powerful omen for the type of disaster that could strike at any time. The Red River continued its slow retreat Sunday after cresting a day earlier, dropping below record level to 39.71 feet (12.1 meters). City officials have said they would breathe easier when the river falls to 37 feet (11.3 meters) or lower, expected by Saturday, meaning a lengthy test for sandbag levees that residents hastily constructed last week. (19 images)

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Volunteers work to fill sandbags needed to patch leaks in dikes and levees March 29, 2009 in Fargo, North Dakota. As flood waters from the Red River began to recede in Fargo and the surrounding communities residents believe that the worst of the flooding may have past, but are being cautioned by state and local authorities not to let down their guard yet.Getty Images / Daniel Barry


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Members of the Horace Fire department, the North Dakota National Guard and volunteers help to sandbag a retention pond to keep flood water from the water treatment facility March 28, 2009 near Horace, North Dakota. The National Weather Service has reported the Red River has possibly crested at 41 feet and expecting to drop in coming days as people in the area continue to monitor temporary dikes for leaks and working on shoring up levees. Getty Images / Scott Olson



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Workers scramble to pull an outlet hose for a pump over a dike as a helicopter behind lowers a giant sandbag in an attempt to patch a leak at the flooded Oak Grove Lutheran school Sunday, March 29, 2009, in Fargo, N.D. The bloated Red River briefly breached a dike early Sunday, pouring water into the school campus and the mayor called it a "wakeup call" for a city that needs to be vigilant for weaknesses in levees that could give way at any time. Crews managed to largely contain the flooding to the school campus, preventing more widespread damage in nearby areas. AP / Elaine Thompson



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Pete Montplaisir sets up pumps to remove flood water from the library of Oak Grove Lutheran School after a levee break flooded the campus March 29, 2009 in Fargo, North Dakota. The Red River which crested at 40.82 feet in Fargo is slowly dropping. Getty Images / Scott Olson



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Brian Webb sets pumps to remove flood water from the campus of Oak Grove Lutheran School after a levee break flooded the area March 29, 2009 in Fargo, North Dakota. The Red River which crested at 40.82 feet in Fargo is slowly dropping. Getty Images / Scott Olson



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A levee built from Hesco barriers is used to hold back flood water from the Red River March 28, 2009 in Fargo, North Dakota. The National Weather Service today reported the river is at or near its anticipated crest. Getty Images / Scott Olson



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A dump truck hauls clay used to reinforce a Hesco levee to hold back flood water from the Red River March 28, 2009 in Fargo, North Dakota. The National Weather Service today reported the river is at or near its anticipated crest. Getty Images / Scott Olson



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Members of the Horace Fire department, the North Dakota National Guard and volunteers help to sandbag a retention pond to keep flood water from the water treatment facility March 28, 2009 near Horace, North Dakota. The National Weather Service has reported the Red River has possibly crested at 41 feet and expecting to drop in coming days as people in the area continue to monitor temporary dikes for leaks and working on shoring up levees. Getty Images / Scott Olson



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Phil Johnson (R) hands a purse of to Mara Solberg as she and her son Bjorn catch a ride from Todd Ellig (L) through a field flooded by the Wild Rice River to her family farm March 28, 2009 near OxBow, North Dakota. The National Weather Service has reported the Red River has possibly crested at 41 feet and expecting to drop in coming days as people in the area continue to monitor temporary dikes for leaks and working on shoring up levees. Getty Images / Scott Olson



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Fargo area residents pray in groups during a non-denominational prayer service March 29, 2009 in Fargo, North Dakota. As flood waters from the Red River began to recede in Fargo and the surrounding communities residents believe that the worst of the flooding may have past, but are being cautioned by state and local authorities not to let down their guard yet. Getty Images / Daniel Barry



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Homes are flooded by water from the Red River March 29, 2009 in Fargo, North Dakota. As flood waters from the Red River began to recede in Fargo and the surrounding communities residents believe that the worst of the flooding may have past, but are being cautioned by state and local authorities not to let down their guard yet. Getty Images / Scott Olson



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A home is surrounded by flood water from the Red River March 29, 2009 near Fargo, North Dakota. As flood waters from the Red River began to recede in Fargo and the surrounding communities residents believe that the worst of the flooding may have past, but are being cautioned by state and local authorities not to let down their guard yet. Getty Images / Scott Olson



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A house sits isolated by flood waters from the Red River south of Fargo, N.D., Sunday, March 29, 2009. AP / Charles Rex Arbogast



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Water overflows the banks of the flooded Red River March 29, 2009 at Fargo, North Dakota. As flood waters from the Red River began to recede in Fargo and the surrounding communities residents believe that the worst of the flooding may have past, but are being cautioned by state and local authorities not to let down their guard yet. Getty Images / Scott Olson



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Sgt. First Class Todd Sudheimer with the Minnesota National Guard in St. Paul, Minn., looks out of his UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter at the Red River flooding south of Fargo, N.D. on Sunday, March 29, 2009. AP / Charles Rex Arbogast



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Tom Miller checks on the dike at his father-in-law's home in Fargo, North Dakota, on Saturday, March 28, 2009, after rising floodwaters from the Red River. MCT / Minneapolis Star Tribune / Richard Tsong-Taatarii



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Mike Wieser wades through waist-high water with empty gas cans he needed to fill to keep his pumps running at his home, just south of Fargo, North Dakota on Saturday, March 28, 2009. Water from the Red River and Wild Rice River has surrounded his home but dikes have held thus far. AP / The Canadian Press / Winnipeg Free Press / Joe Bryksa



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Tucker Schoenfish, 13, and his father Errol gathered clothes and other necessities after rising floodwaters from the Red River flooded the area in Briarwood, North Dakota on Sunday, March 29, 2009. MCT / Minneapolis Star Tribune / Richard Tsong-Taatarii



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Grain silos are reflected in floodwater as the Red River continues to rise Sunday, March 29, 2009, in Halstad, Minn. AP / Carolyn Kaster



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