National Weather Service Says Spring Flooding is Likely in the F-M Area

The National Weather Service is predicting a 50% chance the Red River could hit major flood stage in Fargo-Moorhead

FARGO, N.D. — Spring flooding throughout the Red River Valley is likely this year. The National Weather Service released their first flooding forecast of the year.

“It doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to be a major flood, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to be above 30 feet,” said KVRR Meteorologist, Jason Cerjak. “Basically, it says there’s a 50 percent chance of the biggest flood this spring being at or above 30 feet.”

This is still an early forecast though and there’s plenty of time for that forecast to change.

“We’ve got quite a bit of winter left and then spring and you can certainly get a lot of precipitation. So it puts us on notice that there’s a good chance that there will be some minor flooding,” said Darrell Vanyo with the F-M Flood Diversion Board of Authority.

“When the melt happens and we had severe rain. Even with the report, it’s not guaranteed,” said Fargo City Commissioner and Board of Authority member, Dave Piepkorn.

Piepkorn said even if the forecast for the flood plain does increase, downtown should be okay thanks to the newly built flood wall.

“It’s all ready to go and so we hope not, but it’s a nice feeling. Now we don’t have to build those clay levees and take them down,” said Piepkorn.

For the general public though, there could be some concern.

“The public should be prepared. Don’t let the last six years or so fool you into thinking floods don’t happen here anymore,” said Cerjak.

Vanyo said, hopefully, when the flood diversion project is complete, the concerns will be a thing of the past.

“Right now if we had the diversion in place there wouldn’t be anybody worried about anything and even at significantly higher levels or probability of flooding they wouldn’t be worried about anything,” said Vanyo.

The flood diversion project is projected to be complete within the next eight years. Although the forecast for the F–M area doesn’t look too bad as of now, the risk of severe flooding increases as you go north up the Red River particularly in Devils Lake.

The National Weather Service says there’s a “good chance” for flooding in the area during the spring and summer.

Their report says there’s a 50 percent chance of the lake rising almost three feet, and a 25 percent chance of it increasing the record level of 1,454.3 feet, back in June 2011. They base this outlook on the wet fall and heavy winter snow which brought lots of water content.

The service will announce more updates once we get closer to the spring season.

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