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Imminent Flooding in Red River of the North Basin 

March into April, 2009 

  Major overland flooding is expected in eastern North Dakota and northwest Minnesota. This will subsequently lead to major flooding, and possibly record flooding along the Red River of the North and its tributaries.

Precipitation over eastern North Dakota and northwest Minnesota was much higher than normal during the autumn of 2008. Soils have become saturated. As of March 17, 2009, soil moisture was calculated to be from 60 to 120 millimeters above normal.

Temperatures for eastern North Dakota and northwest Minnesota are forecast to remain near or above freezing in the Red River Valley, Saturday, March 21, into Tuesday, March 24. Maximum and minimum temperatures, shown at the following URLs, have more details:

Snow depths in eastern North Dakota varied from around one foot to near two feet. Water equivalent was estimated from 1 ½ inches to 4 inches. The frost depth in eastern North Dakota remains 2 to 5 feet deep. With the above freezing temperatures Saturday, March 21, into Tuesday, March 24; most of the snowpack will melt. Significant and rapid runoff can be expected.

The water level on Devil’s Lake is expected to rise 3 feet, and possibly 4 feet, and is expected to exceed the record level set in 2006.

A strong storm system is expected to develop and move across the region early next week. This system is expected to bring significant rainfall to eastern North Dakota and northwest Minnesota Tuesday and Wednesday. Rainfall amounts from ½ inch to 1 ¼ inches are forecast for eastern North Dakota with slightly less values in northwest Minnesota. This may exacerbate the situation depending on the exact track of the system.

The amount of precipitation expected over the next 5 days (Friday through Tuesday) is shown in the graphic below.



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Page Design Last Modified:
March 19, 2009
Page Author: Denise George