Flood outlook is good for Red River ValleyFARGO — The Red River Valley has a less than 10 percent chance of major flooding this spring, despite last week’s heavy snowfall, the National Weather Service said in a flood outlook released Thursday.
By: Mike Nowatzki, The Forum
FARGO — The Red River Valley has a less than 10 percent chance of major flooding this spring, despite last week’s heavy snowfall, the National Weather Service said in a flood outlook released Thursday.
Meteorologist Jim Kaiser said the more than 8 inches of snow dumped on Fargo and areas to the south brought them closer to normal snow totals for the season.
“But it really didn’t push things into another category at all,” he said.
Fargo has received 42.9 inches of snow since November, which is three-tenths of an inch below normal. The area is still about a half-inch below normal precipitation since November, Kaiser said.
“It’s just been so dry, and it’s been colder, so it’s a drier snow,” he said.
The weather service’s outlook predicts a greater than 90 percent chance of minor flooding and a 29 percent chance of moderate flooding in Fargo. The chance of moderate flooding is 22 percent in Wahpeton and 19 percent in Grand Forks.
Minor flood stage on the Red River at Fargo is 18 feet. At that level, the city closes Elm Street between 14th and 15th avenues. Moderate flood stage is 25 feet, and major flood stage is 30 feet.
Last year, a wetter-than-normal March, April and May kept the Red River at Fargo above flood stage for 44 of 61 days in April and May. The river crested at 30.85 feet on June 9, causing damage to several holes at Edgewood and Rose Creek golf courses and making a mess of city parks along the river.
The 2007 flooding cost the Fargo Park District about $320,000 in damage, repairs and lost revenue from campgrounds and golf courses, Finance Director Jim Larson said.
If the river rises to 22 or 23 feet this year as expected, water will cover part of the fairway on hole No. 2 and all of the fairway on hole No. 3 at Edgewood, district Executive Director Roger Gress said.
“But at this time of the year when the river comes up and goes down, everything is dormant,” he said. “It’s going to have a negligible effect on anything that I can see right now. Hopefully that’s not going to change.”
Kaiser said overnight temperatures haven’t been high enough to get snowmelt running substantially from fields to rivers, and he said he’d like to see the southern Red River Basin open up soon.
“It’d be nice to kind of piece it out so we don’t get the big wave to kind of come through all at once,” he said.
Kaiser noted that a major snowstorm or rainfall could quickly change the flood outlook.
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