Posted 9/08/15 (Tue)
By Cecile Krimm
The sky cracked open over Crosby Saturday morning, delivering more than 3.6 inches of rain by noon, another .40 by evening, and yet another .59 overnight.
According to a National Weather Service spokesman, the total was the second biggest one-day rain ever recorded in Crosby, missing the record by only .15 inches, set on July 11, 1974.
It will take only .92 more to break the monthly record for September, set in 2013, according to Rick Krolak, NWS meteorology technician in Bismarck.
Rain varied widely across the region, with reports from Fortuna ranging from .86 to 1.2 and in the Noonan area, 3.35. The highest amount reported came from residents near the Crosby Country Club, who reported 5.5 inches over a 30-hour period.
Crosby’s deluge overwhelmed storm sewers, flooded some basements and is even being blamed for setting off the city’s weather alert siren -- but not for the reason you might expect.
“The water was just pouring onto the siren controller,” said Divide County Emergency Manager Jody Gunlock. “They’re supposed to be water tight but we’re not buying that right now.”
The only official weather service alert issued Saturday was for flooding -- but Gunlock said the siren is not supposed to go off except for severe thunderstorms with dangerous hail, high winds or when there is a tornado threat.
The folks over at the grocery store didn’t need an alarm to tell them about the localized flooding that nearly cut off customer access.
“We were almost an island over here,” said Brenda Ekness, Ekness Super-Valu. “We always get a lot of water. We’ve never seen this much.”
“We were definitely surrounded,” agreed Randy Ekness.
Business was able to carry on as usual, except “we had some pretty wet carry-outs,” said Brenda.
As wet as it was uptown, Randy said he was even more surprised by the amount of water at Nordstog Park, where you could have used the tire swing to go tubing.
City Commissioner Doug Anderson joined public works employees Steve Hurley and Jeff Jeglum who went out in the downpour to clear plugged storm sewers around town, but mostly it was just a case of too much water too fast.
“The volume of water just exceeded the capacity of the storm drains to handle it,” said Anderson.
Gunlock said Monday he plans to call the siren company to make sure the siren did not go off because of the flood alert.
He said a roof drain on top of city hall couldn’t handle the flow, which sent a cascade of water over the edge of the building and right on top of the siren control box.
“We might have to build a little roof over it,” said Gunlock, to deflect water in future downpours.
Prior to 2013’s monthly precipitation record of 5.51, the September record held for 40 years. In 1973, 4.45 inches fell during the month.
If not for the way statistics are recorded -- from evening to evening, rather than by event -- the 4.59 inches that fell during the 24-hour period beginning early Saturday and ending early Sunday would have been the biggest all time rain ever in a single day in Crosby.