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Published February 14, 2011, 04:11 PM

How Does Weather Affect Flooding?

Spring flooding is big concern up and down the Red River Valley. So, what would be the ideal weather conditions to minimize flooding?

Spring flooding is big concern up and down the Red River Valley.

So, what would be the ideal weather conditions to minimize flooding?

With a 50 percent chance of reaching major flood stage in Grand Forks. Meteorologists say a slow, consistent warm-up would be ideal.

This stretch of warmer weather has snow and ice melting on sidewalks and roads, but since it is only mid-February, the water has no place to go.

"This current warm-up is just not going to be long enough to have any impact on the Spring flood it's just really a nice stretch of nice weather for everyone to enjoy," meteorologist Daryl Ritchison said.

According to the National Weather Service, Grand Forks has had a little over 33 inches of snow this year. Grand Forks had more than double that in 1997. Hydrologists say the thing to watch is the water content of the snow.

"We're about double where we have been in the past years so it's a lot of water out there ready to go. That's why there's so much concern about flooding," hydrologist Mike Lukes said.

There is a 50 percent chance both Grand Forks and Fargo will reach major flood stage.

"If we could get the longer, gentler melt where we have days above freezing and nights below freezing, that will definitely help the flood situation here in the Valley," Lukes said.

Temperatures and snow storms over the next month could make all the difference.

"Worst case scenario would be for a rapid warm-up with highs and lows to stay above freezing for an extended period of time which in some ways is what happened to us the last two years," Ritchison said.

"How the thaw progresses, that'll be the key issue here and we'll be monitoring that with our weather forecasts," Lukes said.

The National Weather Service will be coming out with an updated flood outlook later this week.

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