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Spring flood risk is low, weather service predicts, Red River has 50 percent chance of exceeding minor flood stage

GRAND FORKS -- The Red River and Devils Lake Basin should not see any significant spring flooding this year as the El Nino weather pattern stretches through the late winter months.

GRAND FORKS -- The Red River and Devils Lake Basin should not see any significant spring flooding this year as the El Nino weather pattern stretches through the late winter months.

"The threat for significant, impactful, snowmelt flooding is low," the National Weather Service and North Central River Forecast Center said in its initial 2016 Spring Flood Outlook, which was released Friday morning.

"Snowpack in the subbasins and streamflow conditions are higher than 2015, but generally less than the 2014 spring runoff," the report said.

The outlook indicates the Red River has a 50 percent chance of exceeding the minor flood stage. The first numbers are the outlook with the minor flood stage in parenthesis:

-- 9.8 feet (11 feet) in Wahpeton, N.D.

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-- 19.6 feet (18 feet) in Fargo

-- 27.8 feet (28 feet) in Grand Forks;

-- 28.4 feet (26 feet) in Oslo, Minn.

-- 39.4 feet (39 feet) in Pembina, N.D.

Meanwhile, Devils Lake has a 50 percent chance of rising about 1.5 feet, to an elevation of 1,451.5 feet above sea level.

Devils Lake froze over this year at 1,450.1 feet. The record elevation is 1,454.3 feet, set in 2011.

The NWS Climate Prediction Center expects February, March and April to bring warmer-than-average temperatures and for precipitation to be slightly less than averages.

Rain and the water-equivalent of snow across the Red River Basin ranged from 1.5 to 3.3 inches -- or about an inch below normal -- from Nov. 28 through Jan. 28. Overall, soil moisture at freeze-up was near median levels, with slightly higher levels in the Devils Lake Basin.

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Frost levels are near normal, ranging from 20 to 26 inches, according to the report. The mid-January arctic conditions, which brought sustained sub-zero temperatures for several days, increased ice thickness on area bodies of water.

The next spring outlook will be issued Feb. 18.

Related Topics: RED RIVERWEATHER
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