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This report of the findings and recommendations of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) survey of the April 1997 floods on the Red River of the North consists of two primary parts: an assessment of the services provided by the National Weather Service in forecasting this devastating event and an analysis of the hydraulics of the flood itself in the vicinities of Grand Forks, North Dakota, and East Grand Forks, Minnesota. The service assessment was completed shortly after the event itself; the results of the service assessment were reported in public meetings and press conferences that were presented on July 25, 1997. There remained one significant set of issues -- all related to the reasons that the Red River of the North reached significantly higher stages at East Grand Forks than were expected. The hydraulic analysis in this report is the culmination of a sensitivity analysis designed to clarify the contributions of various factors to this higher-than-expected stage. The National Weather Service (NWS) is committed to providing the best possible flood warnings within the limits of the science, technology, and resources available for the residents of the Red River of the North, in particular, and the Nation in general. The primary impetus of this report is to improve these services. Many of the findings and recommendations of the service assessment portion of this report have already been acted upon and are already part of the NWS flood warning services to the region. The hydraulic analysis, likewise, aids the accuracy of NWS services.

Edward R. Johnson, Survey Co-Leader
Chief, Hydrologic Operations Division
National Weather Service
August 1997
Tom Yorke, Survey Co-Leader
Chief, Office of Surface Water
U.S. Geological Survey
August 1997
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