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Minot, North Dakota Flooding: Thousands Flee As Officials Warn City Could Be Under Water Soon (VIDEO)

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NORTH DAKOTA FLOODING 2011 MINOT
The Souris River passes near a home Tuesday, June 21, 2011, in Minot, N.D. Sirens wailed across the city on Wednesday as the swollen river overtopped levees. | AP

Residents still remaining in Minot, North Dakota rushed to pack up their belongings and leave town Wednesday as sirens wailed throughout the city, a warning of what is expected to be the worst flooding the city has seen in over 40 years.

The Souris River -- heavy with intense snowmelt and rain -- overtopped levees 5 hours ahead of an evacuation deadline, the AP reports. Those still remaining of the 11,000 in the Minot evacuation zone were prompted to leave their homes and head for higher ground immediately.

From the AP:

The resulting deluge is expected to dwarf a historic flood of 1969, when the Souris reached 1,555.4 feet above sea level. The river is expected to hit nearly 1,563 feet this weekend – eventually topping the historical record of 1,558 feet set in 1881.

Residents in Minot were told to evacuate earlier this month before the river hit 1,554.1 feet. They were later allowed to return, but were warned to be prepared for the possibility of another evacuation.

According to Reuters, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plans to increase releases from the Lake Darling Dam to 15,000 cubic feet per second on Thursday, and officials have said flood defenses in Minot were rated to around 9,500 cubic feet per second.

Amtrak has temporarily disabled services in Minot and other areas in North Dakota due to the flooding.

"There will be a lot of water in the city," North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple told reporters.

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