Snowfall increases risk of spring flooding in southern Red River Valley

The risk of spring flooding has increased significantly in some parts of the Red River Valley, especially in the southern valley.

However, river levels are not expected to approach those of record floods, unless the valley experiences an unusually wet spring, which currently is not forecast.

Fargo-Moorhead now stands a 79 percent chance of major flooding, according to the latest National Weather Service spring flood outlook. The risk was just 6 to 7 percent last month.

Minor flooding is forecast in the Grand Forks area. Minor to moderate flooding is expected between Oslo, Minn., and Pembina, N.D.

Wahpeton-Breckenridge has a 64 percent chance of major flooding.

“The flood risk has risen substantially, but nowhere to the levels of 2009, 2010 or 2011,” said Greg Gust, warning coordination meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Grand Forks. “On a positive note, the drought impacts are easing slightly.”

Devils Lake could rise by 1.5 to 2 feet, considering precipitation, runoff through two outlets and evaporation, and ultimately end the summer at about 1,451.4 above sea level, virtually the same elevation it is today. That’s about 3 feet lower than the record elevation of 2011.


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