Spring flood risk remains low: Outlook includes cold spring but no big storms
GRAND FORKS — The risk for a substantial flood in the coming months remains low in the Red River Valley, according to the National Weather Service’s latest spring flood outlook released Thursday.
It remains largely unchanged from an outlook issued last month.
There is potential for moderate flooding on the Red River and minor to moderate flooding from most tributaries in North Dakota and Minnesota.
Fargo-Moorhead has a 95 percent chance of a crest of 22.8 feet and a 75 percent chance of reaching 25.2 feet, just over the threshold for moderate flooding.
A 1-foot increase also is expected on Devils Lake and Stump Lake at their summer peaks.
Temperatures for the next two weeks are expected to be above zero but still below seasonal average with no big snowstorms predicted for the area.
The low temperatures combined with soils frozen at about 3 feet deep or more reduce the likelihood of an early thaw. Forecasters say a later than average thaw is likely at this point.
The weather service also said the region is likely done receiving blasts of arctic air, but temperatures will be slow to warm up in the spring.
Below-normal temperatures will likely extend into April, but heavier snows and rains aren’t expected to accompany them.
As for the snow already on the ground, snow depth measurements are coming in normal as well. The low range for the southern Red River Valley is sitting at around 8 to 12 inches while areas to the north are recording depths of 2 to 3 feet.
South of Grand Forks, the snow’s water content — the amount of water snow would produce if melted — is lower than normal because of the much colder and drier air masses that have moved through the area.
The area south of Halstad, Minn., is recording water contents of 1.5 to 2.5 inches.
From Halstad to Oslo, Minn., contents are in the 2.5-to-3.5-inch range. North of Oslo, water contents run from 3.5 to 4.5 inches.