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Published April 23, 2013, 06:41 PM

Warmer temps to accelerate snow melt, river rise

It's the calm before the storm but this weekend daytime high temperatures are expected to be almost 30 degrees warmer than it has been. That means the snow pack will likely melt at a rapid rate and people in the northern valley will start to see river levels begin to rise.

By: David Schwab, WDAZ

It's the calm before the storm but this weekend daytime high temperatures are expected to be almost 30 degrees warmer than it has been. That means the snow pack will likely melt at a rapid rate and people in the northern valley will start to see river levels begin to rise.

Big temperature changes are in store... And they are not the ideal kind for a gentle melt to avoid flooding. Just how much and how soon they they will affect the river levels remain to be seen.

The still frozen Red River in Grand Forks has risen, but very little. The National Weather Service expects that to change this next week after a quick warm up.

Peter Rogers, National Weather Service: "So when you have this big temperature swing for the 30s to the 60s in three or four days that is going to have a huge impact on the remaining snow pack."

Rogers says there is a greater uncertainty with river levels this year because it's something the National Weather Service has not dealt with on the modern record. It's not known how much of the melt has soaked into ground versus runoff into the system, they hope to get a better handle on that as we move into next week.

Rogers: "It's very important to be very careful with this forecast. We are not trying to be flippant with it because we understand that it is impacting many people and a lot of major decisions that cost a lot of money."

East Grand Forks officials have decided to put up its invisible flood wall starting Thursday morning. Though they will only build it to two thirds of total height.

Scott Huizenga, EGF City Administrator: "That will be well more than enough, even if something unusual happens."

Huizenga says putting up the flood wall a couple weeks in advance of a high river will save money by avoiding overtime.

Huizenga: "We can get that out of the way and we can be ready for road closures if and when they are needed."

The Red River at Fargo/Moorhead is expected to crest sometime next week.

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