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Flood fears recede in Fargo as river hits crest

FARGO, N.D. - The good news was all about things that didn't happen: No floodwaters pushing aside hastily built sandbag walls, no neighborhoods evacuated, no panicked residents wondering whether they'd ever see their homes again.

The Red River crested in Fargo yesterday without doing major damage, and city officials all but declared victory.

A year after record flooding forced thousands in the area to evacuate and damaged about 100 homes, officials and residents used a host of lessons learned to prepare for this year's less intense, but still potentially destructive, rush of water.

Thousands of volunteers, including young children, stacked more than 1 million sandbags and crews built miles of clay levees to keep the waters away. Officials gave residents tips on building better sandbag dikes, including clearing the ground of snow and ice that could be melted by floodwaters. And the city held exercises to map out the best routes for trucking sandbags to neighborhoods.

The Red River crested in the afternoon at just under 37 feet, 19 above flood stage. By evening, it was on its way down. - AP

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