04/16/2013 12:32 EDT | Updated 06/16/2013 05:12 EDT

Fargo mayor predicts flood to reach 3rd worst level ever

The mayor of Fargo, N.D., is predicting the city will have one of its top three floods in history.

Dennis Walaker said Tuesday the latest snowstorm this week means the flood risk is higher on the Red River.

In response, city officials have ordered the production of another 500,000 sandbags to protect the city.

“Everybody’s feeling that 38 [feet] flood river stage would probably be a given. What we’re talking about is protecting to 43 feet,” said Walaker.

He said building up the dike by another five feet (1.5 metres) will protect them if they reach the same level as they did in 2009, which was 41 feet, plus provide an addition two feet (60 centimetres) of leeway.

The Red River is currently at 15.3 feet in Fargo. A level of 18 feet is considered flood stage.

On Tuesday, Fargo had 1.3 million filled sandbags and that number was expected to grow to 1.8 million.

The city has also decided to demolish eight large, empty homes in the flood zone so a dike can be built on the land.