Friday, June 24, 2011

Preparing for the Unexpected--Minot, ND

I'm sure by now that a lot of you who had maybe never even heard of Minot, ND, know where it is now.  We're having MAJOR flooding right now, and it's expected to get much worse than it ever has in recorded history.  I actually live 30 miles north of Minot, so I'm not affected in the aspect of having to evacuate or anything like that, but that certainly doesn't mean we aren't affected by the flooding at all.

If any of you have ever visited my part of the world, you know that it's very rural.  North Dakota, as a whole, is a very low population state.  Minot is the fourth largest city in the state, and still has less than 50K in it.  But it serves a much larger area than most cities do in a higher populated state.  Just to paint a quick picture, the town I live in, is 30 miles north of Minot.  As far as businesses go, we don't have much.  To get groceries, we have the option to drive over 15 miles to a tiny locally owned grocery store, or to drive the 30 miles to Minot, assuming you don't have base privileges (the Air Force base is located 20 miles south of here).  The people that live 15 miles away from me in the town previously mentioned, live over 40 from Minot, and still have to go to Minot for anything not offered at their tiny grocery store, or to go to the mall, Target, Walmart, etc.  And that's pretty much the norm in every direction.  Also, people from Canada (I believe that it's a little more than 50 miles from Minot to the Canadian border) frequently drive into Minot to shop and for entertainment.

With the flooding that is currently going on in Minot, there are obviously a lot of people displaced.   Most of them had time to get the things that they needed out of their houses, but some of them weren't able to for whatever reason, and others simply forgot about things they might need.  So even though this has just started, the shelters are already running low on a lot of things (diapers, toothpaste, shampoo, and other toiletries, etc).   To make things even more interesting, there is only ONE road open to go from the south side of town to the north side of town.  And all the open grocery stores (the one on the north side was emptied out and closed since it was in the first evacuation zone) are on the south side.  If they aren't able to save the road that is currently open for traffic,  the people on "north hill" and the people north of Minot, are going to be cut off from the grocery stores, the hospital, etc.  Minot is working very hard to keep that from happening, but with the most recent bad news, it might still happen.  They've set up a clinic on north hill to address medical needs, and can use a helicopter to get people to the hospital (which is safely located on a hill), but with only one helicopter and a hospital set up inside of a school, there's only so much you can do, especially when you are talking about needing to address medical concerns for such a large population.  My husband's a volunteer EMT, and works with people that live over 50 miles away from Minot that transport there, because that's the only full hospital in the area.  The next closest hospital is cut off from us, due to flooding, as well.

Now is one of the times that I'm extraordinarily grateful to have my stockpile.  It's not anywhere near as large as some seen on Extreme Couponing, or anything like that.  But it's still enough to last my family for several weeks.  It's also enough that we were able to donate a fair amount yesterday.  The flooding is expected to last for several weeks, and while I'm sure there will be supplies brought in somehow, it's nice to know that we don't have to worry about it.  And we can leave the stuff there for people who truly NEED it, and need it right away.

When you are located several miles from the nearest river, and up on a hill to boot, you don't really consider the fact that flooding might affect you.  I'm just glad that my family was prepared for an emergency, even if we thought the emergency would most likely come in the winter, in the form of a blizzard.

1 comment:

JRFrugalMom and Family said...

I immediately thought of you, when I heard about the flooding in Minot. Thank you so much for giving us an update Carla. I hope everything will get better soon in Minot, and I too am thankful for your grocery shopping smarts.

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