Star Tribune
March 28, 2009

The flood fighters in the Red River have added a high-tech weapon to their arsenal this year.

A Predator unmanned drone aircraft, on loan from the Department of Homeland Security, is being used to survey the valley for the first time and give officials a quicker assessment than ever before of the flood’s effects on the ground.

[efoods]”We think it will help the emergency management folks pinpoint the areas they have to pay the most attention to,” said Juan Munoz-Torres, a spokesman for the department.

An initial aerial survey of the valley was flown last weekend from south of Fargo to the Canadian border — before the flood caused any substantial damage.

A second flight will be launched as soon as this weekend.

High-definition videos shot from both Predator flights will be then compared, immediately showing the physical differences wreaked by the flood.

Predators were used last summer along the Gulf Coast to assess damages sustained during the hurricane season, Munoz-Torres said.

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