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John Wheeler, WDAY, Published October 16 2013

Weather Talk: Correlation isn’t direct between wet years, floods

Our calendar year precipitation total is now more than 30 inches. Fargo-Moorhead weather records go back to 1881, and in those 132 years, there are now just nine years with 30 inches.

The correlation between these wettest years and spring flooding is not as direct as you might think. Four of those years – 2008, 2005, 2000 and 1977 – were all followed by major or record spring floods. But wet years in 1998, 1905, 1901, and 1882 were followed by modest flooding or no flooding at all.

Any flooding next spring is more dependent on winter snowfall, spring rainfall and the weather during the melt than on the state of the soils in the fall. Water in the ground in the fall does not cause spring flooding. All it can do is potentially make a spring flood worse.

October is not the time to plan or even worry about a spring flood. However, if the snowpack starts becoming deep this winter, concern about a spring flood will become real.


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or write to WDAY Stormtracker, WDAY-TV, Box 2466, Fargo, ND 58108

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