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North Dakota Predicting Major Spring Flooding

January 18, 2011 10:14 AM | News

Grand Forks, ND during the 1997 flood, which destroyed most of the downtown area.

The National Weather Service in the U.S. released their 2011 spring flood outlook on Tuesday for Grand Forks and the surrounding areas.

The Red River and Devils Lake Basin are in store for “major spring flood issues,” climatologists said.

The outlook, based on recorded levels of snow as of January 13, report Fargo has received 141 centimetres this season. The amount of snow is 40 centimetres above its long term annual average for an entire winter season. West central Minnesota, southeastern North Dakota, and portions of northeast North Dakota, including the Devils Lake Basin, are in similar situations.

Most of this area received above normal summer and fall precipitation, making for rivers and streams to freeze at record high levels.

To add to the problem, climatologists say the current La Nina pattern is expected to hold through the spring, making for the possibility of a colder and snowier winter plus the possibility of a cooler, stormier, and wetter spring.

The Devils Lake Basin is expected to rise to a new record height in excess of 1454 ft elevation, making for the community of Minnewauken, ND to be inundated, along with additional homes, businesses and critical infrastructure surrounding these lakes.

The current spring flood outlook for the Southern Red River Basin, including the Fargo-Moorhead area, already has a higher risk of spring flood levels than were seen in either the 2006 or 2010 major flood events. Forecasters are predicting Fargo-Moorhead could see flood levels approach the record levels set back in the early spring of 2009.

The Northern Red River Basin indicates the Red River also has a similar risk of major spring flooding, as seen during the 2006, 2009 and 2010 major flood events. Luckily, it only has a 10 percent risk of experiencing record levels which occurred back in 1997.

Manitoba’s own flood forecast will be released on January 24.

— With files from the National Weather Service