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Red River Valley braces for potentially record flood

Intense preparation has taken place and is ongoing in the Fargo, N.D., and Moorhead, Minn., areas and throughout the Red River Valley, in anticipation of potentially record-breaking flooding this week, the Forum of Fargo-Moorhead reported.

The river could rise above 40 feet in the Fargo-Moorhead area as the flooding sets in later in the week, threatening the 1997 record level of 39.57 feet, and the Fargo record of 40.1 feet from 1897, the Forum reported.

The entire community, from college football players to high school students to inmates, have been called upon to help in the protection efforts, particularly sandbagging, the Forum reported.

All three colleges in the area - Concordia College, Minnesota State University-Moorhead, and North Dakota State University - canceled classes on Monday, Minnesota Public Radio reported. Students, faculty, and staff were asked to volunteer with the flood preparation.

Efforts began on Sunday to make and distribute up to 2 million sandbags for the city, the Forum reported. Officials said they need at least 350 people working continuously.

The National Weather Service said on Sunday that the river was 3 feet above flood level, the Pioneer Press reported via The Associated Press.

In Breckenridge, Minn., volunteers worked on Monday to protect the city, reaching a level 1 foot above the expected flood level, the Star Tribune reported.

Harsh weather could complicate the city's efforts as the week progresses. Snow and freezing temperatures are expected as early as Tuesday, the Forum reported.