WDAZ: Your Home Team

Published January 29, 2010, 05:09 PM

Good Chance of Major Spring Flooding

The latest flood outlook has the National Weather Service saying we are sitting on the same powder keg with similar conditions as last year that lead to major flooding in the valley.

The National Weather Service says the flood outlook for this spring has changed and there is now a greater chance of major flooding in the Red River Valley.

Greg Gust: "The precursor conditions are there and whether that flood will be of the scale of a 2006 or 2009 event, is still too early to say, but you do have a very high risk of significant flooding. And even if the river system doesn't get as high as a 2006, 2009, there will be arial flooding, break out flooding and the possibility of ice jam flooding. Its going to be a busy spring."

The National Weather Service says a wet fall, high stream flows at freeze up and a lot of snow so far this winter are all conditions that play a role in spring flooding and those conditions are very similar to the conditions last year.

Greg Gust: "We are sitting on virtually the same keg of dynamite, if you will, from the precursor conditions that we had last year."

In some areas like Fargo, conditions are a bit worse than last year... At this time in 2009, the potential for major flooding in Fargo was 78 percent... This year its already up to an 86 percent chance."

Greg Gust: "in Fargo, the river actually went into freeze up higher than it did last year, that's the result of the excess precipitation still in the system."

The National Weather Service says the probability for flooding is higher in the southern part of the Red River Valley.

Greg Gust: "as you get into the northern part of the basin, somewhat lower risk overall."

Grand Forks has a 45 percent chance of reaching major flood stage this year. But this is just the current outlook, there is still time for it to change.

Greg Gust: "February and March, the snow in there, and certainly March, the threat for rain and the warm up cycle are always critical elements and this year we have a system that is charged and ready."

The weather service says people need to be aware of the possibility of flooding, but not to get overly concerned about it just yet. The National Weather Service says Devils Lake is almost certain to rise to a record level again this summer as well. There is a 90 percent chance that Devils Lake will rise to 1451.4 feet... That's more than 6 inches higher than the record of 1450.72 feet set last July. The weather service also says there is a 60 percent chance the lake will hit 1452 feet this year.

Greg Gust: "What that means is the Devil's Lake Basin right now is just a hair's breath above 1450. The snow that's in the basin, the moisture that is available for run-off, it's a closed basin right now at this point and certainly that foot to 2 foot rise is a high expectation, last year we bumped up three feet very quickly."

The next flood outlook is scheduled to come out some time before February 19th.