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John Wheeler, WDAY, Published October 19 2012

Weather Talk: Drought doesn’t make flooding an impossibility

The drought has certainly dried up most of the water cooler flood talk this year. Through fall, winter, spring, summer and another fall, the dry weather has lowered the water table considerably. This has obviously reduced the flood threat.

But consider this piece of history: In April 1989, there was a substantial Red River flood in the middle of a severe two-year drought. The spring and summer of 1988 had been much hotter and drier than this past summer. But heavy winter snow was followed by a cold, wet spring and a sudden thaw. The Red peaked at 36 feet that year in Fargo-Moorhead.

The floods in 2009, 2010 and 2011 were exasperating and generally worse than the 1989 flood, and perhaps the difference was the drought. But this is difficult to determine. Water is water, and runoff is runoff. Certainly, the drought has made it harder for there to be severe spring flooding in 2013, but it has not made a severe flood impossible.


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