20 February 2014 - Spring Flood Outlook

Red River and Devils Lake Basin - 2014 Spring Flood Outlook
Talking Points for 2/20/2014
 
Contacts: Greg Gust or Mike Lukes, ph. 701-795-5119, NWS Grand Forks ND.
 
This outlook is based on conditions as of 2/20/14. Official textual and graphical outlook products are available at weather.gov/fgf and at devilslake.noaa.gov .  
 

 

Links to Graphics:   http://water.weather.gov/ahps2/index.php?wfo=fgf

Links to Text/Numbers:   http://www.crh.noaa.gov/fgf/scripts/localdata.php?loc=appahps&data=lpofar , http://www.crh.noaa.gov/fgf/scripts/localdata.php?loc=appahps&data=lpodvl 

 
Bottom Line up Top:   Not much change… attm the risk for substantial flooding still appears low.    BUT… delayed thaw is expected, so exposure to heavier snow or rain is possible.
 
Between the 25th and 75th probability percentiles:
- A Minor to Moderate spring flood potential is indicated for most MN and ND tributaries.
- A Moderate spring flood potential is indicated for the majority of the Red River mainstem.
- A roughly one foot to one and a half foot rise would be expected on Devils Lake (summer peak).
 
Main Factors:
- Soils and streams are a bit “wet” in the far southern basin, otherwise near normal.
- Snow Water Equivalent (SWE) is generally running low south of Grand Forks, normal to north. 
- The rest of the winter and early spring season is likely to be near to colder than normal.          
 
Details.
- Soil moisture and stream flow conditions across the Red River and Devils Lake Basins are running mainly within the seasonal normal ranges, between 25 to 75 percent of seasonally adjusted historical values, with these notable exceptions: 
      -- Soil moistures for areas south and southwest from the Fargo-Moorhead area (ND Wild Rice) are running higher than normal, better than the 90th percentile, due to carryover from heavy summer/fall rains.
      -- Base Streamflows across the Basins are running in the 25-75th percentiles for this time of year.
 
- Snowpack is near long term normals, ranging from a low of 8-12 inches in the far south to a high of 2-3 feet in the far north and northeast, highest along the CanAm border into the Lake of the Woods.
 
- Snowwater is somewhat less than long term normals, largely due to the much colder and drier winter airmasses experienced during this current winter period. Water content is running from 1 to 2 inches in the southern basin (south of Halstad), and from 2 to 3 inches central (Halstad through Oslo), and 3.0 to 4.5 in the north (north of Oslo).  
 
- Short-term Weather forecast... calls for a sharp drop back to below normal temperatures from Feb 21st into the first week of March, high temps staying below freezing through March 5th – No early spring!           
 
- Climate outlook through the spring snowmelt period… looks for the current “colder” weather pattern to persist well into March and early April – Good News: but not as late as last year! This climate pattern suggests below normal temperatures and near normal precipitation (water content), which should result in near to above normal snowfall – since colder air has less moisture and produces somewhat fluffier snow.
 
- The next Spring Flood Outlooks will be issued on March 6th, 2014.


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