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Published February 19, 2010, 07:45 PM

Major Flooding Expected For Grand Forks Area This Spring

The National Weather Service says people in the Grand Forks area should be prepared for spring flooding similar to last year.

By: Renee Chmiel, WDAZ

The National Weather Service says people in the Grand Forks area should be prepared for spring flooding similar to last year. It says the area will certainly see moderate flooding. At this point there is a 73 percent chance for major flooding in the area. The weather we have over the next several weeks will be a major factor in how severe the flooding is.

Last year was a year of major flooding in the Grand Forks area. And although the snow hasn't started melting yet this year, the National Weather Service says conditions this year are already similar to 2009.

Mark Ewens/National Weather Service: "We did have additional precipitation with freezing temperatures so the soil is quite frozen, quite deep. From that standpoint it's fairly similar to last year."

But there are differences. For one, the soil conditions are drier in some places because of the warm and dry November. We've also gotten over six inches more snow so far this winter than all of last winter.

Mark Ewens: "Because of the two major snowstorms that we've had-the Christmas weekend and the Martin Luther King weekend storms-those both increased the snowpack significantly."

So far the area has gotten 15 to 16 inches more snow than normal, which is rare for an El Nino year. Although it's not possible to determine how high the water in the Red River will get, the weather we get in March will be a major factor.

Although we've already had more snow than we did last year at this time, Ewens says it isn't the amount of snow but the way it melts that will determine the severity of the spring flooding.

Mark Ewens: "If unfortunately that prolonged cold period ends quickly and we were to get significant rain on top of it then that would enhance the flood threat."

The National Weather Service says areas like Fargo and Wahpeton in the southern part of the Red River Valley are the most susceptible to flooding.

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