Spring Thaw Progress for the Red River of the North

HYDROLOGIC OUTLOOK
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE EASTERN NORTH DAKOTA/GRAND FORKS ND
159 PM CST TUE MAR 06 2012

...SPRING THAW PROGRESS FOR THE RED RIVER OF THE NORTH...

   ...SNOW MELT EXPECTED TO ACCELERATE THROUGH NEXT WEEK...

   ABOVE NORMAL TEMPERATURES ARE EXPECTED TO RIPEN EXISTING SNOW
   PACK AND BEGIN THE INITIAL SNOW MELT RUNOFF PROCESS ACROSS THE
   RED RIVER BASIN...FROM THIS WEEKEND AND THROUGHOUT NEXT WEEK.
   LOCAL STREAMS AND TRIBUTARIES SHOULD SEE SOME INITIAL RISES
   BEGINNING NEXT WEEK. THE RUNOFF PROCESS MAY CONTINUE FROM THERE.

. CURRENT CONDITIONS...

 * SNOW PACK...LATE FEBRUARY AND EARLY MARCH SNOW STORMS HAVE
   PEPPERED THE RED RIVER BASIN BRINGING IT MORE IN LINE WITH
   NORMAL SPRING SNOW PACK CONDITIONS. THE SNOW DEPTHS ACROSS
   THE RED AND DEVILS LAKE BASINS RANGE FROM 18 INCHES IN
   LIDGERWOOD ND...17 INCHES IN STARKWEATHER ND AND 16 INCHES
   AT ELBOW LAKE IN MINNESOTA LAKES COUNTRY TO 3 INCHES IN
   BRECKENRIDGE MN...4 INCHES IN MAYVILLE ND...6 INCHES IN
   GRAND FORKS AND 8 INCHES IN THE FARGO/MOORHEAD AREA.

   SNOW WATER IN THE PACK RANGE FROM 1 TO 3 INCHES ACROSS THE RED
   RIVER BASIN. THERE IS AN AREA OF 2 TO 3 INCHES SOUTH OF LISBON
   ND TO THE HEAD OF THE PRAIRIE COTEAU...BETWEEN THE JAMES AND RED
   RIVERS. OTHER AREAS OF 2 TO 3 INCHES OF SNOW WATER EXIST ALONG
   THE GLACIAL LAKE AGASSIZ BEACH RIDGES NORTH OF WARREN MN...ALONG
   THE RED LAKES AND WITHIN THE DETROIT LAKES...BEMIDJI AND FOSSTON
   TRIANGLE. THERE IS GENERALLY 2 TO 3 INCHES OF SNOW WATER WITHIN
   THE DEVILS LAKE BASIN. THE LATEST REPORT FOR FARGO/MOORHEAD IS
   1.8 INCHES OF SWE. AT GRAND FORKS THERE IS 1.6 INCHES OF SWE.

   SNOW PACK TEMPERATURES RANGE FROM THE MID TO UPPER TWENTIES
   WITH THE WARMEST TEMPERATURES SOUTH AND WEST OF A LINE FROM
   CARRINGTON TO VALLEY CITY AND LISBON ND TO SISSETON SD. SNOW
   PACK TEMPERATURES ARE ALSO NEARING THE THAW POINT IN PATCHY
   FOREST AREAS OF MINNESOTA FROM MAHNOMEN...THROUGH LAKE PARK
   AND FERGUS FALLS INTO THE ELBOW LAKE AREA.

   FOR THE MOST UP TO DATE AND DETAILED SNOW MODEL INFORMATION
   GO TO:
          WWW.NOHRSC.NOAA.GOV/INTERACTIVE/HTML/MAP.HTML

 * RIVER ICE...CONDITIONS ON THE RED AND ITS MINNESOTA AND NORTH
   DAKOTA TRIBUTARIES ARE EITHER ICE COVERED OR ICE AFFECTED. RIVER
   ICE THICKNESS VARIES WITH THE SIZE OF THE RIVER BUT RANGE MOSTLY
   BETWEEN A FOOT AND A FOOT AND A HALF ON THE MAINSTEM RED.

   THE RED RIVER AT WAHPETON HAS SEEN A SLIGHT RISE DUE TO PLANNED
   RELEASES FROM THE LAKE TRAVERSE RESERVOIR.

 * SOIL MOISTURE AND FROST DEPTHS...THE TOP FEW INCHES OF SOIL
   REMAIN SOMEWHAT DRY BUT ARE COMPLETELY SNOW COVERED AND QUITE
   FROZEN. DEEPER SOIL LEVELS APPEARED DAMP BUT NOT SATURATED AT
   FREEZE-UP AND HAVE REMAINED SO. SOILS ACROSS THE SOUTHERN
   THIRD OF THE BASIN ARE SOMEWHAT WETTER THAN THOSE IN THE
   CENTRAL AND NORTHERN PORTIONS OF THE BASIN. SOILS ARE FROZEN
   FROM 20 TO 40 INCHES DEEP OVER MOST OF THE AREA. LACK OF SNOW
   COVER EARLY IN THE WINTER HAD ALLOWED FROST TO PENETRATE MORE
   DEEPLY THAN LAST YEAR THOUGH FREQUENT PERIODS OF MILD WEATHER
   PUNCTUATED WITH SHORTER PERIODS OF EXTREME COLD HAVE PREVENTED
   THE GROUND FROST FROM PENETRATING TO EXTREME SOIL DEPTHS.

 * RECENT WEATHER...THE AIR TEMPERATURES HAVE BEEN IN THE RANGE
   THAT HAVE NOT YET PRODUCED ANY SUBSTANTIAL MELTING OF THE SNOW
   PACK EXCEPT ON METRO AREA ROADS. THE INCREASING SPRING SUNSHINE
   AND WARMER WEATHER HAS REDUCED THE DEPTH OF SNOW AND INCREASED
   SNOW DENSITY WHICH IS ESSENTIAL TO THE /RIPENING/ OF THE SNOW
   PACK AND INCREASING ITS TEMPERATURE MORE TOWARD ITS MELTING
   TEMPERATURE...ESPECIALLY IN THE SOUTHERN PART OF THE RED RIVER
   BASIN AND THE FORESTED PARTS OF NORTHWESTERN MINNESOTA.

. SPRING THAW WEATHER OUTLOOK...

 * FOR THE NEXT 7 DAYS:
   AFTER A BRIEF SHOT OF COLDER AIR WEDNESDAY...TEMPERATURES WILL
   BEGIN TO WARM AND REACH MUCH ABOVE NORMAL LEVELS THIS WEEKEND
   INTO EARLY NEXT WEEK.  DAILY HIGH TEMPERATURES WILL BE IN THE 20S
   ON WEDNESDAY AND IN THE 30S THURSDAY AND FRIDAY BEFORE RISING WELL
   INTO THE 40S OVER THE WEEKEND INTO EARLY NEXT WEEK. A FEW HIGH
   TEMPERATURES IN THE LOWER 50S ARE ALSO POSSIBLE EARLY NEXT WEEK.

   THE ONLY CHANCE FOR PRECIPITATION LOOKS TO COME SUNDAY INTO MONDAY
   OVER FAR SOUTHEASTERN NORTH DAKOTA INTO WEST CENTRAL MINNESOTA AS
   AN UPPER LOW MAY BRING A CHANCE FOR LIGHT RAIN TO THE AREA.  ANY
   AMOUNTS LOOK TO BE VERY LIGHT.  OVERNIGHT LOWS DURING THE WEEKEND
   INTO EARLY NEXT WEEK LOOK TO BE IN THE UPPER 20S TO MID 30S.

 * FOR THE NEXT 8 TO 14 DAYS:
   ABOVE TO MUCH ABOVE NORMAL TEMPERATURES ARE EXPECTED ACROSS
   THE NORTHERN PLAINS THROUGH MARCH 20TH WHILE PRECIPITATION IS
   EXPECTED TO BE NEAR NORMAL. DAILY HIGH TEMPERATURES DURING
   THIS PERIOD COULD REGULARLY REACH INTO THE 40S WITH LOW
   TEMPERATURES RANGING FROM THE MID 20S INTO THE MID 30S AT TIMES.

 * NOTE: FOR THE NORTHERN RED RIVER BASIN DURING THE THIRD WEEK IN
   MARCH...NORMAL HIGH TEMPERATURES RANGE FROM THE LOWER TO MIDDLE
   30S AND LOW TEMPERATURES FROM THE MID TO UPPER TEENS. FOR THE
   SOUTHERN RED RIVER BASIN...NORMAL HIGH TEMPERATURES RANGE FROM
   THE MID TO UPPER 30S AND LOW TEMPERATURES FROM MID 20S.

 * BEYOND 14 DAYS:
   THE REMAINDER OF THE MARCH OUTLOOK IS FOR TEMPERATURES TO REMAIN
   ABOVE SEASONAL AVERAGES AND FOR PRECIPITATION TO RANGE FROM NEAR
   TO SLIGHTLY ABOVE SEASONAL AVERAGES.

. SPECIAL HYDRO/FLOOD CONCERNS...

 * A QUICKER THAN NORMAL SNOW MELT COULD LEAD TO ENOUGH RUN OFF
   THAT WOULD CAUSE SOME ICE JAM FLOODING AT RIVER LOCATIONS
   TYPICALLY PRONE TO THEM...SUCH AS AT TRIBUTARY CONFLUENCES...
   TIGHT RIVER BENDS...LESSENING OF RIVER CHANNEL STEEPNESS AND AT
   NATURAL OR MAN MADE RIVER CONSTRICTIONS...SUCH AS BRIDGES OR LOW
   HEAD DAMS. ICE JAMS TYPICALLY SET UP QUICKLY AND ARE HARD TO
   PREDICT USING CONVENTIONAL RIVER MODELS. IF THE NWS IS NOTIFIED
   OF AN ICE JAM FLOOD...WE WILL ISSUE A FLASH FLOOD WARNING.

. ADDITIONAL 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.

 * IF NEEDED...THE NEXT PROBABILISTIC HYDROLOGIC OUTLOOK FOR SPRING
   FLOODING WILL BE ISSUED ON THURSDAY MARCH 22TH 2012.

$$
TEAM FGF



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