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Published February 19, 2010, 11:55 AM

UPDATED: Latest flood outlook looks similar to 2009, residents told to begin preparing for high water

UPDATED 11:55 a.m.
FARGO – The latest flood outlook poses “incredible risk” for residents of the flood-weary Fargo-Moorhead metropolitan area.

By: Forum staff reports, INFORUM

UPDATED 11:55 a.m.

FARGO – The latest flood outlook poses “incredible risk” for residents of the flood-weary Fargo-Moorhead metropolitan area.

Officials from the National Weather Service in Grand Forks presented their latest projections, which show there’s a 25 percent chance the F-M area could see Red River levels reach last year’s historic 40.84 foot mark.

“The powder keg is bigger, the fuse is shorter,” Greg Gust, a meteorologist with the weather service, said today.

Mark Frazier of the weather service said the magnitude of flooding this year will be similar to flooding in spring 2009.

“We encourage people across entire the valley … to be systematically preparing for this flood season,” Frazier said.

Officials from across the region were on hand this morning to listen to the presentation.

Fargo Mayor Dennis Walaker said the city is making preparations on a daily basis.

“As far as I’m concerned, it was a miracle we survived the flood of 2009,” he said.

While there are similarities in flood-contributing factors this year compared to 2009, there are some differences, Walaker said.

“I’m not going to get worried until it actually happens,” he said.

According to the flood outlook:

The Red River in Fargo has a 20 percent chance of exceeding 41 feet in Fargo this spring.

The North Dakota cities of Fargo, West Fargo, Harwood, Abercrombie and Lisbon all have a greater than 90 percent risk of reaching or exceeding major flood stage.

Three main factors contribute to an outlook similar to 2009:

– Excessive rainfall last fall

– The amount of water in the current snowpack

– Prospects for additional moisture through the spring melt period.

The Red has a 96 percent chance of exceeding the major flood stage of 30 feet in Fargo. That’s up from an 86 percent chance in the last outlook released Jan. 29.

There’s a 30 percent chance the river in Fargo will exceed 40.3 feet, a 50 percent chance it will exceed 38.6 feet and a 70 percent chance it will exceed 37 feet, the outlook states.

The weather service’s next flood forecast is expected March 5.

Check back for updates.

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