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Published August 07, 2011, 05:48 PM

WEATHER TALK: Two Critical Flood Factors Won't Be Known Until Spring

Two of the most critical factors determining the degree of spring flooding are the rate of snowmelt and spring rainfall, and those two things cannot be known until spring in any year.

By: John Wheeler, WDAZ

Two of the most critical factors determining the degree of spring flooding are the rate of snowmelt and spring rainfall, and those two things cannot be known until spring in any year.

But what we do know now is that the overall state of saturation across North Dakota, northern South Dakota and western Minnesota is as bad as has ever been known. Reservoirs, lakes and sloughs are full. Rivers have been out of their banks all summer and show no sign of retreat. Rain keeps falling heavily.

Even if the fall weather is less rainy and we get just average snowfall, there will be significant spring flooding. And there is no doubt about what a wet fall and winter might lead to.

Of course, recent flood mitigation projects have made the cities much safer. Ultimately, the difference between a manageable flood and a catastrophic one will be the two aforementioned spring weather factors, so there is no point in worrying yet. But if buying flood insurance is ever a good idea, this might be the year.

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