FARGO — The risk of significant flooding throughout the Red River Valley remains low as late winter continues the dry weather pattern that has clung to the area since summer.
The National Weather Service, in an updated spring flood outlook issued Thursday, Feb., 11, said the main risk for spring is minor flooding throughout the valley.
Drought conditions increased throughout the fall and winter. The southern valley is abnormally dry, while moderate drought grips the northern valley, making a spring flash drought possible, said Greg Gust, a weather service meteorologist.
Both the water content in the snow pack and snow depth are below normal throughout the valley. The liquid in the snow ranges from a trace to 1 inch in the west and mid-valley, and from one to two inches in the east.
Snow depth ranges from one to four inches in the west and mid-valley, and five to 10 inches in the east.
The dry conditions are a turnaround from last year, Gust said, which produced a top 10 spring flood.
The outlook calls for near normal temperatures and near to above normal precipitation in February, March and April. Near normal temperatures and precipitation is expected for May, June and July, according to the weather service.
The outlook issued Tuesday calls for a 95% chance the Red River in Fargo will reach 16.8 feet, a 50% chance it will reach 20.5 feet and a 5% chance of cresting at 33.3 feet. Minor flood stage begins at 18 feet, moderate flood stage at 25 feet and major flooding at 35 feet.
The outlook said the Red River at Wahpeton has a 95% chance of reaching 8.3 feet, a 50% chance of 10.9 feet and a 5% chance of 14.2 feet. In Grand Forks, the river has a 95% chance of reaching 18.1 feet, a 50% chance of 22.8 feet and a 5% chance of 41.1 feet.