Charly Haley, Forum News Service, Published February 20 2014
Newest forecast shows major spring flood unlikely in Red River ValleyGRAND FORKS – It’s unlikely the Red River Valley will experience a significant flood this spring, according to a National Weather Service flood outlook released Thursday.
Like January’s flood outlook, February’s shows a low risk for “substantial flooding,” with moderate flood potential for the Red River.
But a delayed thaw is expected and heavy snow or rain is still possible this season, so the chance of a flood still could increase, said Jim Kaiser, a meteorologist with the Grand Forks weather service office.
Temperatures are forecast to stay below freezing through March 5.
The snowpack is at a normal level for this time of year, ranging from a low of 8 to 12 inches in the far south of the Red River Valley to a high of 2 to 3 feet in the far north and northeast, highest along the Canadian border into the Lake of the Woods, according to the report.
Snow-water levels are somewhat lower than normal, Kaiser said, adding to the region’s low flood risk. The lower level of water in the snow is because of this winter’s extremely cold temperatures, he said.
Snow water ranges from 1 to 2 inches in the southern basin, south of Halstad, Minn., to 3 to 4.5 inches in the north, north of Oslo, Minn., according to the flood report.
Grand Forks has only a 5 percent chance of major flooding, which is a river level of 47.8 feet, Kaiser said. There’s a 95 percent chance of minor flooding at 28 feet.
Fargo has a 25 percent chance of major flooding, which is 32.7 feet. There’s a 95 percent chance of minor flooding at 22.5 feet.
Devils Lake, which has been flooded for years, has a 10 percent chance of reaching the record of 1,454.3 feet above sea level, reached in June 2011.
The next flood outlook will be issued March 6.