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Published February 17, 2011, 07:30 PM

Chance of Large-Scale Red River Flooding Increases

There is little good news in the new flood forecast issued Thursday. As we mover closer to the spring melt, it's now more likely the flooding on the Red will be worse than first predicted.

By: David Schwab, WDAZ

There is little good news in the new flood forecast issued Thursday.

As we mover closer to the spring melt, it's now more likely the flooding on the Red will be worse than first predicted.

With Red River flows now expected to be slightly higher overall, the risk for 2009-scale flooding near Grand Forks has risen from about 60 percent to about 80 percent.

Near Fargo, the risk of 2010-scale flooding has risen from 55 percent to about 70 percent, and Fargo's risk of exceeding the 2009 flood of record has risen to just over 20 percent.

"2010 level flooding is pretty much a given and 2009 scale flooding is still there in that 20 to 25 percent," meteorologist Greg Gust said.

Gust says those percentages take into account current weather patterns and how the river has acted in the past. There was some good news from Thursday's flood outlook including recent low precipitation levels, though. Frost levels in the ground are shallow, and less river ice could help with potential ice jams.

But the bad news? Water content in snow is very high, soils are saturated and rivers remain near winter season records. Gust says even with a perfect melt and no precipitation in the coming months, there will still be major flooding and communities should prepare.

Grand Forks city officials say the city is well protected for this flood, but plans to add clay to certain dikes have been hatched just to be safe.

The next flood forecast is due in two weeks. The current weather pattern calls for the next few of months to be cold and wet.

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