Spring Thaw Progress for Red River Valley -- Issued Mon. March 21

...TUESDAY-WEDNESDAY SNOW STORM TO ADD SNOWPACK MOISTURE WHILE
COLDER WEATHER TO POSTPONE SNOW MELT RUNOFF...

A WINTER STORM IS POISED TO SPREAD RAIN...SLEET AND HEAVY SNOW
ACROSS THE BASIN TUESDAY INTO WEDNESDAY...FOLLOWED BY MUCH COLDER
WEATHER. NORTHERN PORTIONS OF THE BASIN CAN EXPECT MAINLY SNOWFALL
WHILE SOUTHERN PORTION CAN EXPECT CONSIDERABLE RAINFALL BEFORE
TURNING TO SNOW BY TUESDAY EVENING. TEMPERATURES WILL DROP WELL BELOW
FREEZING TUESDAY EVENING AND SHUT DOWN THE SNOWMELT AND RUNOFF
CURRENTLY ENTERING THE RIVERS AND STREAMS IN THE SOUTHERN RED RIVER
BASIN.

TEMPERATURES HAVE REMAINED ABOVE FREEZING THROUGH THIS PAST WEEKEND
WHICH HAS RESULTED IN RUNOFF DEVELOPING ACROSS THE SOUTHERN RED RIVER
VALLEY. THERE HAS BEEN A RESULTANT SURGE IN THE FLOWS ON SOUTHERN
BASIN TRIBUTARIES...WITH THE BUFFALO RIVER BASIN IN MINNESOTA
SHOWING THE MOST SIGNIFICANT RESPONSES. THE NORTH DAKOTA WILD RICE
RIVER HAS ALSO EXPERIENCED MINOR RISES UPSTREAM OF ABERCROMBIE. AFTER
THIS WINTER STORM...MUCH COLDER WEATHER WILL STOP THE MELT PROCESS
AND SLOW DOWN LOCAL RUNOFF...KEEPING RIVER LEVELS IN THE BASIN TO
LEVELS AT OR BELOW MINOR FLOOD STAGE FOR THE NEXT WEEK OR TWO.

SOME SNOW MELT AND RUNOFF HAS BEEN OCCURRING THIS PAST WEEK AND SNOW
WATER CONTENTS HAVE DECREASED SLIGHTLY...WITH FROM 2 TO 4 INCHES
OF SNOW WATER EQUIVALENT STILL EVIDENT FROM THE DEVILS LAKE BASIN
THROUGH THE CENTRAL AND SOUTHERN RED RIVER VALLEY AND ON INTO THE
WEST CENTRAL MINNESOTA LAKES COUNTRY.

OUTLOOK FOR THE NEXT 7 DAYS:

CURRENTLY...INDICATIONS ARE THAT THE HEAVIEST PRECIPITATION WILL FALL
FROM THE TUESDAY INTO WEDNESDAY STORM OVER THE DEVILS LAKE BASIN AND
THROUGH THE CENTRAL RED RIVER VALLEY INTO THE BEMIDJI AND PARK RAPIDS
AREAS. UPWARDS OF A FOOT OF SNOW...WITH LIQUID CONTENT IN EXCESS OF
ONE INCH...IS POSSIBLE IN THESE AREAS. MOST OF THE SURROUNDING BASIN
SHOULD SEE ONE HALF INCH OR MORE IN LIQUID CONTENT.

FOLLOWING THIS STORM...A RIGOROUS ASSESSMENT OF PRECIPITATION
AMOUNTS AND SNOW WATER CONTENT WILL BE NECESSARY PRIOR TO ANY
UPDATES IN THE OVERALL FLOOD OUTLOOK. AT THIS TIME...AN UPDATE TO
THE PROBABILISTIC FLOOD OUTLOOK IS POSSIBLE ON FRIDAY OR SATURDAY OF
THIS WEEK.

MUCH COLDER THAN NORMAL TEMPERATURES ARE EXPECTED BEHIND THE STORM
AND SHOULD PERSIST WELL INTO NEXT WEEK. THIS WILL ALL BUT STOP THE
SNOW MELT PROCESSES CURRENTLY UNDERWAY. HOWEVER...ANY MELTED SNOW
WATER CURRENTLY IN THE DITCH NETWORK MAY CONTINUE TO MAKE ITS WAY TO
THE RIVERS AND STREAMS BUT AT A MUCH SLOWER RATE.

AT THIS TIME THERE IS THE POTENTIAL FOR ANOTHER SIGNIFICANT STORM
SYSTEM TO IMPACT THE NORTHERN PLAINS LATER NEXT WEEK. ANY SYSTEM NEXT
WEEK COULD PRODUCE A MIX OF RAIN AND SNOW.

THE OUTLOOK FOR THE NEXT 8 TO 14 DAYS:

THE OUTLOOK THROUGH EARLY APRIL CALLS FOR BELOW NORMAL TEMPERATURES
AND A MORE NORMAL PRECIPITATION PATTERN. THIS WOULD MEAN DAYTIME
HIGHS INTO THE 30S AND LOWER 40S DURING THE DAY AND NIGHTTIME LOWS
IN THE 20S. SO...THE MELT PROCESS SHOULD BEGIN ONCE AGAIN. NORMAL
PRECIPITATION IS BETWEEN ONE QUARTER AND ONE HALF INCH THE NEXT 8
TO 14 DAYS.

BEYOND 14 DAYS:

THE CLIMATOLOGY OF A LA NINA SPRING ALONG WITH GUIDANCE PROVIDED BY
THE NOAA CLIMATE PREDICTION CENTER SUGGESTS AN ENHANCED LIKELIHOOD
FOR ABOVE NORMAL PRECIPITATION INTO MID APRIL. ABOVE NORMAL
PRECIPITATION WOULD LIKELY INCREASE OUR OVERALL FLOOD RISK DURING
THE PERIOD. MAJOR FLOODING IS LIKELY TO INITIATE ACROSS MUCH OF
THE RED RIVER VALLEY FROM EARLY INTO MID APRIL.

ADDITIONAL HYDROLOGIC OUTLOOK INFORMATION:

THE NWS OFFICE IN GRAND FORKS WILL BE CLOSELY MONITORING WEATHER AND
RIVER CONDITIONS AND ISSUE FLOOD WARNINGS AND STATEMENTS...AS WELL
AS 7 DAY RIVER FORECASTS WHEN WE EXPECT THE RIVER TO REACH OR EXCEED
FLOOD STAGE WITHIN THAT PERIOD.

REFER TO THE SPRING FLOOD OUTLOOKS FOR MORE SPECIFIC INFORMATION ON
THE CHANCES OF FLOODING AT ON THE RED RIVER OF THE NORTH AND ITS
MINNESOTA AND NORTH DAKOTA TRIBUTARIES. IF CONDITIONS WARRANT...THE
NEXT PROBABILISTIC SPRING FLOOD OUTLOOK WILL BE ISSUED ON FRIDAY...
MARCH 25TH OR SATURDAY...MARCH 26TH...2011.

REFER TO THE SPRING FLOOD OUTLOOKS FOR MORE SPECIFIC INFORMATION ON
THE CHANCES OF FLOODING AT ON THE RED RIVER OF THE NORTH AND ITS
MINNESOTA AND NORTH DAKOTA TRIBUTARIES. THESE SPRING FLOOD AND WATER
RESOURCES OUTLOOKS ARE ISSUED SEVERAL TIMES DURING THE CRITICAL
SPRING MELT PERIOD...USUALLY FROM EARLY MARCH TO EARLY APRIL...
DEPENDING ON CONDITIONS.

THE OUTLOOKS ARE PRESENTED AS TEXT PRODUCTS AND GRAPHS FOR THE CHANCE
OF REACHING OR EXCEEDING MINOR...MODERATE AND MAJOR FLOOD STAGES...AS
WELL AS PROBABILITIES THAT THE RIVER WILL REACH OR EXCEED THE STAGES
GIVEN FOR THE RIVER LOCATIONS PROVIDED FOR THE FULL VALID PERIOD AND
FOR WEEKLY INTERVALS DURING THE PERIOD.

THESE GRAPHS...TEXT PRODUCTS AND EXPLANATIONS THAT HELP INTERPRETING
THEM ARE AVAILABLE FROM THE NWS GRAND FORKS AHPS WEB PAGE ON THE
INTERNET AT:
                  WWW.WEATHER.GOV/GRANDFORKS

THEN CLICK ON THE "RIVERS AND LAKES AHPS" TAB ABOVE THE MAP OR THE
LINK IN THE MENU ON THE LEFT SIDE OF THE WEB PAGE.

CURRENT RIVER CONDITIONS FOR ALL RIVER FORECAST POINTS IN THE RED
RIVER OF THE NORTH BASIN AND DEVILS/STUMP LAKE CONDITIONS ARE ALSO
AVAILABLE ON OUR WEB SITE...AS WELL AS THE 7 DAY FORECASTS WHEN
THE RIVER AT THE FORECAST POINT IS IN OR NEAR FLOOD.

IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS...CONTACT THE NWS AT 701-772-0720.



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