'Major' Flood Risk For Northern Red River Area

March 22, 2013 02:16 AM

While the latest National Drought Monitor showed 66.51% of North Dakota still impacted by some form of drought, the National Weather Service's (NWS) Spring Flood Risk Outlook reveals the potential for "major" flooding in the Red River of the North due to the water availability from the current snowpack and yesterday's 30-day precip outlook that calls for above-normal precip across the Dakotas. Obviously, the forecast doesn't bode well for an early start to the spring planting season, although holds the promise of mending the drought situation across the state.

Link to 30- and 90-day weather outlook

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Specifically, the NWS says, "Devils Lake and Stump Lake are located within a closed basin in northeast North Dakota. The basin has experienced flooding since the 1990's, rising over 30 feet, which has destroyed hundreds of homes and businesses and inundated thousands of acres of productive farmland. Last year, these lakes dropped nearly 3 feet from their 2011 record height. Currently the lakes are at an elevation of 1451.5 feet MSL (3/16/13) and due to an above-normal topsoil wetness and above-normal snowpack they have a 50% chance of rising approximately 2 feet. The immediate impact of a 1.5 to 2.5 foot rise is the loss in ground recovered over the past two years, including 25,000 acres of farmland and numerous miles of roadway and farm access roads."

Link to NWS's Spring Flooding Risk Outlook

Additionally for the Midwest, the NWS says there is potential for exceeding "minor river flood levels" across the middle Mississippi, the smaller tributary streams in the lower Missouri basin and the Ohio River basin. "This would include portions of Kansas, Missouri, eastern Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee. Recent snow and rain events have already produced flooding in this area and the threat for more flooding due to springtime precipitation will continue. This is normal for this region," it states.

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