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Published January 18, 2011, 05:47 PM

Growing Chance For Another Major Flood in the Northern Valley

The National Weather Service released their latest flood outlook numbers Tuesday. The percentages say there is a good chance Oslo, Drayton and Pembina could have to start preparing for the possibility of a flood similar to those in 2009 or 2010.

By: David Schwab, WDAZ

Heavy snow pack and saturated soils before the fall freeze up have added to the risk of major spring flooding up and down the Red River. Places like Pembina and Oslo have a very good chance of becoming islands again this year.

Numbers from the National Weather Service flood outlook predict there is a 70 percent chance the Red River at Pembina could reach or surpass 2009 levels this spring.

"If we have normal conditions and normal melt, which typically starts in late March and early April. Then we would probably see flooding conditions similar to the last three major floods," say Mark Ewen from the National Weather Service in Grand Forks.

Ewens says that much of the Red River Valley, especially to the south and in the Devils Lake Basin have already received more then a typical winter's snow pack and could receive twice the normal snowfall throughout the winter.

Ewens says the current winter weather pattern is only adding to flood concerns.

"If we were to have a more rapid melt, that could happen a little later, which is a little more common in La NiƱa winters. That means it could be more serious flooding and that is something we are going to have to keep a close eye on," Ewens said.

Ewens says the predicted spring river levels for Grand Forks do not raise much concern because of the permanent flood protection in place, but could mean a fourth major flood fight in six years for towns along the Red River to the north. Ewens says with the current winter weather pattern there is an enhanced risk of flooding, so they would have to be monitoring to see exactly how the snow melts.