WDAZ: Your Home Team

Published February 12, 2011, 05:54 PM

Warm-up in Red River Valley Won't Affect Flooding, Experts Say

Any melting will likely refreeze, not reach rivers
Enjoy the balmy weather that should grace the Red River Valley for the next few days.

By: Patrick Springer, INFORUM

Enjoy the balmy weather that should grace the Red River Valley for the next few days.

But don’t delude yourself into thinking the melt will be an appreciable factor in the spring thaw.

That’s the message from the National Weather Service, which is putting out the word that the stretch of above-freezing days is not the start of an early snowmelt cycle.

“This is going to be a rearrangement of water,” Bill Barrett, a National Weather Service meteorologist, said Friday.

John Wheeler, WDAZ’s chief meteorologist, agreed that the run of warm weather won’t be a factor in this spring’s flood. Temperatures will drop below freezing at night during the warm-up.

“You’ll get some melting,” he said. “Most of it will basically refreeze as ice” rather than reach streams or rivers and move downstream.

Some sublimation – a diminishment of snow or ice similar to evaporation of water – will result from the thawing temperatures.

“The impact really will be infinitesimal,” Barrett said.

Both the weather service and WDAZ forecasts call for high temperatures above freezing through Wednesday, when the high could reach around 40 degrees.

Then a return to colder weather is expected Thursday, with blustery conditions and snow possible Thursday night and Friday.

The weather service’s outlook through Feb. 24 calls for more normal temperatures, with normal high temperatures expected to reach the upper 20s and nighttime lows in the upper single digits to lower teens.

The next flood outlook for the Red River and tributaries is expected Thursday.