Spring Thaw Progress on the Red River of the North (Updated 03/13/2012)

HYDROLOGIC OUTLOOK
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE EASTERN NORTH DAKOTA/GRAND FORKS ND
145 PM DST TUE MAR 13 2012
 
...SPRING THAW PROGRESS FOR THE RED RIVER OF THE NORTH...
 
...LITTLE SNOW COVER REMAINS IN THE RED RIVER BASIN...
 
   ABOVE NORMAL TEMPERATURES AND RAINS ON MONDAY HAVE MELTED MOST OF
   THE BASIN SNOWPACK. THIN REMNANTS OF SNOW EXIST IN MINNESOTA NEAR
   THE RED LAKES AND WEST OF A LINE FROM FOSSTON TO DETROIT LAKES.
   OTHERWISE MOST AREAS ARE 90 PERCENT OR MORE SNOW FREE.
 
   IN THE RED RIVER BASIN SOUTH OF HALSTAD...HEADWATERS AREAS OF
   MINNESOTA AND NORTH DAKOTA TRIBUTARIES ARE SEEING OPEN CHANNELS AND
   INCREASING FLOW TOWARDS THE MAINSTEM RED RIVER. FOR LOWER REACHES
   OF THESE TRIBUTARIES...NEARER THE MAINSTEM RED...MOST AREAS HAVE
   A LAYER OF WATER OVER THE DARKENING AND MELTING RIVER ICE. THIS
   EXISTING RIVER ICE IS STARTING TO THIN...AND WITH THE EXPECTED
   WARM WEATHER THROUGH THIS WEEK...MOST OF THIS ICE WILL EITHER
   MELT OR BREAK UP AND BEGIN TO MOVE THROUGH THE SYSTEM.
 
   THE RED RIVER AT WAHPETON/BRECKENRIDGE HAS RISEN TO NEAR ACTION
   STAGE AND IS EXPECTED TO REMAIN NEAR ACTION OR JUST BELOW MINOR
   FLOOD STAGE THROUGH THE NEXT SEVEN DAYS. MOST TRIBUTARIES AND
   THE MAINSTEM RED RIVER FROM HALSTAD THROUGH POINTS SOUTH WILL
   MOVE TOWARDS MORE OPEN FLOW WITH SLOW AND STEADY RISES EXPECTED
   THROUGH THE WEEK.
 
   NORTH OF HALSTAD...HEADWATERS AREAS OF MOST NORTHWESTERN MINNESOTA
   AND NORTHEASTERN NORTH DAKOTA TRIBUTARIES ARE SEEING INCREASINGLY
   OPEN CHANNELS WITH WATER MOVING OVER THE RIVER ICE AT LOWER
   ELEVATIONS NEARER THE MAINSTEM RED RIVER. LOWER REACHES OF THESE
   TRIBUTARIES AND THE MAINSTEM RED RIVER WILL NEED SEVERAL MORE
   DAYS OF SUNSHINE AND WARM AIR BEFORE THE RIVER ICE IS DISLODGED
   OR DISINTERGRATED...BUT MOST ICE SHOULD BE GONE BY NEXT WEEK.
 
   RED RIVER BASIN STREAMS AND TRIBUTARIES ACROSS EASTERN NORTH
   DAKOTA AND NORTHWESTERN MINNESOTA WILL SEE INCREASING FLOWS FROM
   TODAY INTO THE REST OF THE WEEK.
 
   DAYTIME HIGH TEMPERATURES THROUGH THIS WEEK WILL RANGE FROM THE
   MID 50S INTO THE LOWER 70S BY SATURDAY...WITH NIGHT TIME LOWS
   FROM THE MID 30S INTO THE MID 40S. THIS WILL ACCELERATE THE
   THAW PROCESS AND RUNOFF.
 
   FROM LATE THIS WEEKEND INTO EARLY NEXT WEEK...THERE IS A RISK
   FOR WIDESPREAD RAIN SHOWERS WITH EMBEDDED THUNDERSTORMS OVER MUCH
   OF THE AREA. SINCE MOST AREA SOILS ARE EITHER WET...DAMP OR STILL
   PARTIALLY FROZEN ANY HEAVIER RAINFALL AMOUNTS COULD AFFECT LOCAL
   FLOODING POTENTIAL.
 
   THE US ARMY CORP OF ENGINEERS PLANS TO REDUCE TO MINIMAL RELEASES
   AT BALDHILL...WHITEROCK...AND HOMME DAMS. OUTFLOWS FROM ORWELL
   LAKE RESERVOIR ARE CURRENTLY SET TO MATCH INFLOWS. RED LAKE
   RESERVOIR LEVELS APPEAR TO HAVE STABILIZED AND MINIMAL ADDITIONAL
   RELEASES ARE EXPECTED THERE. MOST RESERVOIRS HAVE SOME AVAILABLE
   STORAGE FOR ADDITIONAL RAINFALL RUNOFF IN THE COMING WEEK.
 
. SPECIAL HYDRO/FLOOD CONCERNS...
 
* A QUICKER THAN NORMAL SNOW MELT COULD LEAD TO ENOUGH RUNOFF
   THAT WOULD CAUSE SOME ICE JAM FLOODING AT RIVER LOCATIONS
   TYPICALLY PRONE TO THEM...SUCH AS AROUND 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 NATIONAL WEATHER
   SERVICE 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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