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Daryl Ritchison, WDAY, Published April 05 2012

Weather Talk: ‘Flood of the Century’ hit 15 years ago this month

It is hard to believe that 15 years have passed since the “Flood of the Century” in April 1997.

That flood was preceded by what was arguably the most significant blizzard to strike the state of North Dakota since the infamous blizzard in March 1966. Although the storm impacted Minnesota, the effects were felt the strongest across North Dakota and South Dakota. The Red River and tributaries over the southern basin were all rising rapidly as warm temperatures in late March melted the heavy snowpack.

During the first week of April, overland flooding was spreading quickly, and Fargo-Moorhead was beginning to be surrounded by water. Then for three days, April 5 through 7, 2 to 3 inches of rain, freezing rain and, finally, heavy snow fell on the region, wreaking havoc at the same time so many were desperately trying to sandbag.

The blizzard had wind in excess of 50 mph and destroyed hundreds of electric poles leaving many without power for a week or more; yet, our problems that month had only begun.


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