FARGO, N.D. - Farm land sat under water and city residents stacked sandbags Tuesday as the Red River, swollen with melting snow and heavy rain, spread across its broad valley.

The river, which runs north along the North Dakota-Minnesota line, was already at 36.9 feet in Fargo late Tuesday morning, well above the 18-foot flood stage. It was expected to crest Tuesday night around 37.5 feet, just two feet shy of the 1997 flood, the city's worst in a century.

"Right now, it's a lake," Gov. John Hoeven said after flying over the Red River Valley. "I mean, it just spread out. There's a lot of water."

Even after all the levee construction and property buyouts following the 1997 flood, city officials estimated about 75 homes in the Fargo area were still in danger.

In the surrounding rural area, officials sent out boats to check on residents whose homes were no longer accessible. They had already shut down dozens of roads, said Cass County Commissioner Vern Bennett.

"We had to rent about 50 road closing signs because we ran out," he said.

Just across the Red River, near Moorhead, Minn., about a dozen homes were surrounded by water, and residents were using boats to get supplies, Clay County Sheriff Bill Bergquist said. Moorhead officials built a dike in a park on the city's south side, where about 100 homes were at risk.

Weather forecasters had some unwelcome news Tuesday, as well: More rain is expected in the area later in the week, and it could extend the flooding in some areas, saidNational Weather Service meteorologist Greg Gust.

Thirty miles north of Moorhead, in Hendrum, Minn., volunteers rescued more than two dozen cows from a flooded pasture.

The Wild Rice River was expected to crest there Wednesday about 13 feet above flood stage, though a levee and temporary dike were expected to keep the city dry, said Kevin Ruud, environmental services director for the county.

Rudd said the Army Corps of Engineers reinforced the existing levee at Hendrum and prepared to close U.S. Highway 75 with a dike of clay that should keep the city dry. Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty also authorized 135 National Guard troops assist with dike patrols, security and traffic control in the area.

In Grand Forks, Mayor Mike Brown declared an emergency although officials said they expected no major problems.

The Grand Forks area is protected by a levee system that was built after the 1997 flood. Still, two of the three bridges between Grand Forks and East Grand Forks, Minn., have been closed. The National Weather Service expects the Red River to crest at Grand Forks at about 47.7 feet on Thursday, about 20 feet above flood stage.