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Fighting the Ice Jam

June 13, 2024 13:32 | Anonymous

Reprinted with permission from the North Dakota National Guard

The North Dakota National Guard launched an aerial operation to respond to an ice jam on the Missouri River in Bismarck, Feb. 29. (National Guard story by Sgt. Michaela C.P. Granger and photos by Staff Sgt. Samuel Kroll, North Dakota National Guard Public Affairs Office)

Two UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters deployed, repeatedly dropping 660 gallons of water to dislodge ice. The river crested at 15.43 feet, and due to mitigation efforts, fell nearly 2 feet and ended the day at 13.49 feet, dropping below minor flood stage.

The day before, a large ice jam caused the Missouri River to quickly rise above minor flooding levels, passing 14.5 feet and flooding low-lying areas along the shoreline. Gov. Doug Burgum signed an executive order declaring an emergency for Burleigh and Morton counties, activating the North Dakota State Emergency Operations Plan. All state agencies, including the NDNG, are directed to maintain high readiness and provide appropriate levels of flood response resources.

 “There were a lot of dedicated team members putting in additional hours to ensure north dakota had a successful assessment,” said maj. Gen. Al dohrmann, ndng adjutant general. “This accreditation proves our state partners’ ‘work as one’ mindset. We all work together so that when north dakotans are having their worst day, we are ready to respond to save lives and property.”

“Year After Year, The North Dakota Department Of Emergency Services Has Successfully Led Our State’s Whole-Of-Government Response To Natural Disasters And Other Emergencies With The Utmost Professionalism And Preparedness. These Consecutive Accreditations Are A Testament To The Extremely High Level Of Services Provided By The Des Team And Their Emergency Management Partners Across Our State,” Burgum Said.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers committed to reducing flows from Garrison Dam upstream of an ice jam causing minor flooding on the Missouri River in Bismarck-Mandan, as state agencies coordinated with local and federal partners on a whole-of-government response. By 3 p.m., the two NDNG UH-60 Black Hawks were activated. Each helicopter was equipped with a Bambi Bucket system, capable of holding 660 gallons of river water. The 5,000 lbs of water was then repeatedly dropped onto the ice. A 20 by 20-foot section of ice was dislodged on the first pass. Around 6 p.m., progress was made, and the ice began to move down the river. One hundred and eighteen buckets dropped over 70,000 gallons of water in four hours.

“This Was A Group Effort Responding Quickly To The Ice Jam, We Continue To Monitor The Situation And The North Dakota National Guard Remains Ready To Answer The Call To Support Our State And Communities”, Said Lt. Col. Matt Voeller, Ndng Director Of Domestic Operations.

A North Dakota National Guard UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter carries 660 gallons of water in a Bambi Bucket to drop on an ice jam on the Missouri River in Bismarck, North Dakota, Feb. 29

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