ND National Guard runs flood emergency response drill

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BISMARCK, N.D. - The snow always melts eventually, but is there enough to flood Bismarck? The National Guard isn't taking any chances.

The Missouri River is calm right now, but If the conditions are right this spring, 2018 could look a lot like 2011. Chief Meteorologist Kevin Lawrence describes what needs to fall in place for that to happen.

"The snow pack is dismal across most of the western states, except the Northern Rockies. Montana is doing very well. As that snow spring runoff continues, what about precipitation, is it going to make it worse? That happened in 2011. We had significant runoff and very heavy rain."

Friday’s National Guard training simulated widespread flooding across the Missouri, Cheyenne and Red River Basins. They're also gearing up for other types of disasters.

"Flood operations have traditionally been an operation that happens in North Dakota, but with the drought, we are looking at fire operations across the state,” said Maj. Shannon Horton.

Coordinating within the state is one thing, but when the disaster is more than the state can handle, reinforcements are needed.

"Don't be afraid to ask for help from outside units. With a large scale flood, such as the 2011 flood and the flood that this exercise is based on, we quickly run out of engineering assets here in the state of North Dakota,” said Lt. Col. Kevin Miller, Domestic Operations Chief.

"Developing those relationships and training before an event actually happens is a great thing to do with the guard and our civilian first responders,” said Horton.

Miller says they try to train once per quarter. The National Guard wouldn't be the first responders, they would have to wait for a state disaster declaration before they could help the communities.