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Minot, North Dakota approves continuity of operations plan following flood

After experiencing heavy flooding this summer, one North Dakota city moved forward with planning that will allow it to better navigate another disaster.
After experiencing heavy flooding this summer, one North Dakota city moved forward with planning that will allow it to better navigate another disaster.

After experiencing severe flooding this summer, the city of Minot, North Dakota, announced on December 20 that it was ready to move forward with a comprehensive flood recovery plan.

According to the Minot Daily News, the city council held a vote on December 19 that approved a disaster recovery document that was prepared with the assistance of the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Emergency Support Function 14 team for not only Minot, but also nearby Ward County and Burlington.

The media outlet says that the new plan includes provisions that aim to protect the city's economic vitality in the event of future damage to homes, parks and transportation and health services from flooding.

"It's a very good plan," Minot Mayor Curt Zimbelman told the news source. "It honestly took into consideration a lot of our concerns and the things related to growth."

The comment comes months after Zimbelman told ABC News that town officials in the growing city hadn't ever seen anything like the damage that affected the town. Records indicate the floods were the most severe in the region since the 1960s. Going forward, city officials will begin to work with a flood recovery coordinator to implement the most important elements of the plan.

Over the summer, the city's more than 10,000 residents were told to evacuate their homes twice in June alone. After an earlier evacuation warning, the nearby Missouri River overflowed, putting a number of services and two local nuclear power plants at risk. During both incidents, airboat squads were deployed from other parts of the state to assist in the evacuation process.

This example highlights the importance of formulating a continuity of operations plan, as municipalities that aren't prepared could experience problems maintaining their services when they don't have the mechanisms in place to deal with major floods. As such, pursuing the assistance of an independent consultant that can work together with town officials may be the most beneficial option for municipalities that don't require immediate government support.