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Patrick Springer, Published September 11 2010

Rains will bring Red up near flood stage

Friday’s heavy rains will cause the Red River to creep up almost to flood stage in Fargo-Moorhead by next week.

The river, which experienced a small spike following heavy rains Friday, is expected to climb gradually to 17.9 feet Wednesday, and then recede. Flood stage begins at 18 feet.

More than an inch of rain fell in Fargo, with showers tapering off during the evening. A second wave of heavy rains passed east of the Red River Valley.

“I think we’re about done with the real heavy stuff,” WDAY meteorologist Rob Kupec said. “The bulk of the rain is done.”

The Oakes area in Dickey County, N.D., received more than 4 inches of rain Thursday and Friday, he said. A band of heavy rain dropped between 4 to 5 inches from the Oakes area to the Lidgerwood, N.D., area, Kupec added.

The latest rains soaked ground already sodden, interfering with the fall harvest. “We’re awfully saturated,” Kupec said.

It appears a La Niña weather pattern is affecting the region’s weather. Typically, that means a wet September for the area, although drier weather usually follows in October and November, Kupec said.

“We’ll hope that holds,” he said.

Also Friday, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced that it has begun releasing 90 percent of the water entering Orwell Reservoir, upstream from Fargo-Moorhead, due to heavy rains in the Ottertail River basin.

The Orwell area received 1½ inches of rain Thursday, raising the reservoir’s level above flood stage. The National Weather Service predicted, however, that the releases should not produce flooding in Wahpeton, N.D.-Breckenridge, Minn.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Patrick Springer at (701) 241-5522