Ice Age cometh to Hazen
By Lee Coleman
Mother Nature in North Dakota has shown she has a funny way of reminding us of her sheer power, sometimes when we least expect it.
Two weekends ago on Sunday, high temperatures in Hazen and surrounding areas soared to near 60 degrees. The warm weather started moving water down the Knife River.
But with a price. The reciprocal effect.
The next day, Kevin Baker and Jarvis Kaderlik of the United States Geological Survey were at the South Hazen bridge checking the water flow. Using a wire weight gauge for measurements, the water had risen to 23 feet and was discharging water under the bridge at 2,700 cubic feet per second with mild ice floating downstream.
By comparison, the normal level of the Knife River is 1.8 feet. The lowest level ever recorded was 0.50 feet in 1933 while the highest was 27.79 feet on Mar. 24, 2009.
“The heat we had on Sunday really got the water moving,” said Mercer County Emergency Management Director Carmen Reed. “The snow melt on Sunday was significant. On Monday, we started watching the river and seeing how high it would go.”
Reed emphasized the lack of any impending danger of flooding, reiterating the Knife was being closely monitored. That was 10 a.m.
About 11 p.m. Monday night, things changed.