Jon ErdmanPublished: Apr 28, 2013, 1:19 PM EDTweather.com
Flooding Increasing This Week
What Causes Flooding in Fargo?
What Causes Flooding in Fargo?
Fargo's Top 5 Floods of Record
1) Mar. 28, 2009 (40.84')
2) Apr. 18, 1997 (39.72')
3) Apr. 7, 1897 (39.10')
4) Apr. 9, 2011 (38.81')
5) Apr. 15, 1969 (37.34')
According to the National Weather Service in Grand Forks, N.D., looking at the top 15 crests all-time for which snowmelt was a prime factor, none of them occurred after April 19 in Fargo or after April 26 in E. Grand Forks.
Due to a persistently cold late winter and early spring, the crests this year will be well past those dates.
How cold has it been?
Fargo finally recorded their first high at least in the 50s Friday. In an incredibly warm spring of 2012, Fargo had already registered 41 days with highs at least 50 degrees by April 25. Eleven of those days were at least in the 70s!
Grand Forks went over a month and a half (48 straight days) without a single day warmer than average! That streak finally ended Saturday with a high of 70 and a low of 43, putting the daily mean temperature (57) nine degrees above average.
Fargo, ND River Cam
Animation of the Red River at Fargo, N.D. from Apr. 22-27. (Credit: USGS/City of Fargo)
Late Monday into Tuesday, a strong cold front will sweep into the Red River Valley. As of this writing, it appears the front will keep moving through the valley and not stall. While some thunderstorms are possible in the valley as the front sweeps through, excessive, heavy rainfall is not expected, thanks to the front's movement.
Expect highs to cool into the 40s, with lows cooling into the 30s later in the week.
On Tuesday morning, the Red River at Wahpeton, N.D. became the first location along any stretch of the river to rise above flood stage. Thursday morning, the river first rose above flood stage in Fargo/Moorhead. Then, early Friday, the Red River first rose above flood stage at East Grand Forks, Minn.
The river has already crested at Wahpeton, having reached 14.39 feet on Friday, April 27. This was about five feet below the 1997 record crest and 1.3 feet lower than the 2011 crest. The river is slowly falling there and has fallen back below the major flood threshold, though is still above flood stage. (MORE:River Gauge Status)
The National Weather Service is forecasting major flooding in the next several days at the following river gauges on the Red River:
Red River at Fargo/Moorhead: The river reaches "major flood stage" Sunday with a continued rise to a crest around 37 feet Tuesday or Wednesday. This would be just under two feet below the 2011 crest and about 3.8 feet below the 2009 record crest. (MORE:River Gauge Status)
Red River at E. Grand Forks: Continues its rise toward a crest of 45 to 47 feet Thursday or Friday. Depending on which end of this range actually occurs, this is 3 to 5 feet lower than the 2011 crest and some 7 to 9 feet below the 1997 crest. (MORE:River Gauge Status)
Red River at Pembina (near the Canadian border): Continues to rise and is expected tosurpass 49 feet next Saturday or Sunday, with additional rises possible after that. The top three crests at Pembina are 51.92 feet in April 2011; 52.71 feet in April 2009; and 54.94 feet in April 1997. (MORE:River Gauge Status)
While mitigation efforts have picked up in the valley after both the 1997 and 2009 floods, the bottom line is this will likely be one of the latest and highest spring floods on record for parts of the Red River Basin.