FARGO, N.D. -- The piles of soggy carpet and ruined furniture grew in size and number Friday as homeowners continued flood cleanup efforts and local leaders tried to keep pace with the growing losses.
Mayor Bruce Furness predicted Friday that damage from the heavy flooding earlier last week would top $100 million, nearly double the estimate officials released just one day earlier.
''Part of the reason is there are many more people affected than we first thought,'' the mayor said.
Initial estimates put the number of private homes damaged by floodwaters at between 2,500 and 3,000. Furness said that is likely to double as more residents come forward with damage claims.
He estimated that half the homes in Fargo had ''some kind of water'' and that one-third suffered ''severe damage.''
In addition, losses at North Dakota State University, in one of the hardest hit areas of town, are expected to continue rising, the mayor said. Damage to the Fargodome alone is estimated at about $10 million.
Meanwhile, Gov. Ed Schafer, Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., and Rick Weiland, the regional director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, said Friday they are confident President Clinton will approve a disaster declaration for all of Cass County and other areas hit hard by recent heavy rains.
Schafer said he expects to submit his request to the president early next week.
If approved, the declaration would make the areas eligible for federal disaster assistance. But both Weiland and Conrad warned the aid will not replace everything homeowners have lost.
''They need to know that help is on the way,'' Conrad said. But ''there is no federal program that is going to make people whole in a disaster of this magnitude. It is important for us to acknowledge that and state it up front.''
Storms late Monday and early Tuesday dumped 7-8 inches of rain in the Fargo area in an eight-hour period, swamping hundreds of basements, filling the Fargodome with at least 8 feet of water, and flooding nearly every building on the North Dakota State University campus.
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