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Open Thread: Dangerous Floods and Adorable Babies


Please send good vibes to my home town, Fargo, North Dakota, and the entire state and region. I’ve been following the story for a few days now. The state has been declared a disaster area and FEMA is already up there to help.

North Dakota is in a race against time as residents try to shore up huge sandbag levees ahead of massive flooding expected to hit this weekend. Forecasters predict the Red River’s waters will crest at 41 feet by early Saturday, exceeding record levels set in 1997.

Along the river, residents engaged in a frantic battle against the fast-rising water and bitter cold. Water reached 35.6 feet in Fargo by midday Wednesday, according to the National Weather Service. City officials said they’ll add another foot to the dikes — already 42 feet high — in an effort to withstand the river’s crest.

Mayor Dennis Walaker said the city is bracing for the worst. “We’re talking about levels never reached before by any stretch of the imagination,” he said.

A 41-foot crest in Fargo would be two feet higher than the record level of 39.6 in April 1997, when the area was struck by one of the largest and costliest floods in U.S. history.

In some good news, a pair of rare clouded leopard cubs have been born at the Smithsonian Zoo in Washington DC, and they were rescued before their mom had time to harm them. Apparently the dad’s sometimes kill the moms too!


early yesterday, despite murderous tendencies in the captive species, two newborn clouded leopard cubs were found alive, well and squealing at the National Zoo’s Conservation and Research Center in Front Royal, Va.

They were taken immediately from their gorgeous mother before she could do them harm, or do them in, placed in an incubator set at 88 degrees and fed salt water from baby bottles. Born with dappled, reptile-pattern fur, they were the first such births at the zoo in 16 years.

Their births were a coup, and the end of a complex reproduction saga involving an exotic, endangered and beautiful species of animal that experts call the ghost cat.

It was also a genetic home run: The zoo said the cubs’ genes, which come from outside the captive population, make them among the most valuable clouded leopards in North America.

“Genetically, they’re the most valuable animals outside their home range,” said Ken Lang, a zoo expert on the species, because their genes stem directly from the wild. “These are totally new genes.”

More photos at the link above.

23 Responses

  1. Hi Conflucians,

    I have to rush out, but I’ll check in later on.

  2. I NOM NOM NOM on that leopard cub!

    NOM NOM NOM!!!


    You can thank me later! 😉

  3. It is a hard place to live — climate, distances, etc. It does seem that the climate is punishing for the area. We hope it does not to turn out as bad as some are predicting.

  4. Awww!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Those leopard kitties are so so so cute!

  5. Hilarious how That One only answered seven of the 90,000 questions submitted at today’s town hall event.

    Go figure!

  6. Prayers for the folks in ND and for the cute kitties.

    • Warm weather flooding in a southern clime is one thing, flooding while you’re shivering in the cold has to be a whole ‘nother animal. Neither is fun in the least, both can be deadly, but I sure the heck don’t envy anyone who has to watch frigid water seep over their thresholds. During my years in New Orleans, lots of street flooding took place (most notably courtesy of Katrina), so much so that it was almost routine, but the older houses were built for it. Doesn’t look like the houses in the photo above are. Here’s hoping the waters stop rising soon….

  7. My thoughts and prayers are with the people of North Dakota — esp. Fargo and its immediate surrounding regions — during this uncertain time. As well as all those being affected by these developments. Positive vibes.

  8. I live in a flood zone-we’ve been flooded twice-no fun at all.That pic looks as if there’s ice in the water too. Let’s hope it doesn’t happen… 😦

  9. BB-I hreard that large blocks of ice the size of automobiles are making matters worse by creating an Ice Dam that is backing water up behind it….they are getting out the dynamite I hear!

    • Yes, that’s from the Missouri River–around Bismark. Fargo is on the Red River. But several other rivers are flooding too. One is the Shennendoah, south of Fargo. My grandparents used to live on that river–in Lisbon, ND.

  10. I went over to DailyKOS just now. What a propaganda machine. Why didn’t I see it before?

  11. Also in a flood zone. When it gets bad, the waddling ducks pretty much take over. Thoughts are with the brave North Dakotans.

    Tax returns are finally done and gone. Now just waiting for those fancy derivatives to arrive in the mail. I better get something back. Free stamps, miniature gold coins, something. Cause freedom, security, inalienable rights, the national parks are great. But what I could really use is a functioning economy. And it was no fun writing a fat check to someone who cheats on his own taxes. Gotta take another look at that budget.

    • One of the few benefits of a poverty level income is not having to write any big fat checks, or any check at all for that matter, to the IRS. It’s especially pleasing given the current crooks-take-all zeitgeist. So put that in your Turbo pipe and smoke it, Timmy!

  12. […] Open Thread: Dangerous Floods and Adorable Babies Please send good vibes to my home town, Fargo, North Dakota, and the entire state and region. I’ve been […] […]

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