Based on a variety of factors, including record precipitation since the fall of 2008, above average winter snowfall, and deeply frozen soils, your NOAA's National Weather Service is reminding residents of the Red River Valley region widespread major flooding is anticipated this spring.
Record September through February precipitation has met one of the criteria for major spring flooding. Above normal snowfall this winter season, with another few weeks remaining in the snow season, is another major factor. Extensive river ice, in some cases 1 to 2 feet thick, sets the stage for significant ice jams along area rivers, another major flood indicator. The presence of a La Nina increases the threat for continued above normal precipitation into this spring, as well as a later than normal melt. This rounds out the criteria for major spring flooding.
Residents of the Red River Valley and Devils Lake Basin are strongly encouraged to prepare for major flooding. It is not possible at this time to predict when flooding will start, but climatology and the historical record do provide guidance. Due to the potential for a late melt and continued above normal precipitation (the La Nina effect), flooding could start during the last week of March in the southern Red River Valley and across the northern Red River Valley into April. This is not a forecast, and residents are encouraged to pay close attention for later river forecasts. The next flood outlook will be issued Friday March 13th.
Your NOAA's NWS suggests you review emergency action procedures before flooding begins. We encourage residents to review the potential for flooding in their area, and consider the purchase of flood insurance as needed. For more information, visit the National Flood Insurance Program web site by clicking here.
Stay tuned to your favorite source of weather information, including NOAA All Hazards Weather Radio and the NWS web page at www.crh.noaa.gov/fgf for later statements and forecasts.