Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Predicted flood at head of the Red River scaled back

Bill McCauliffe in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune: Residents of the Red River’s first flooding target got a bit of good news Tuesday when the National Weather Service scaled down Sunday’s expected river crest by half a foot. A recent slow melt, a soil thaw and a forecast calling for little rain prompted the Weather Service to drop the peak expected at Breckenridge, Minn., and Wahpeton, N.D., where the Red is formed by the Otter Tail and Bois de Sioux rivers.

The predicted peak would be about the sixth-highest on record and nearly 3 feet below the record reached in 1997.

The Weather Service may announce a crest Wednesday for Fargo-Moorhead, the largest U.S. population center along the north-flowing Red, where crests generally arrive about four days after leaving Breckenridge-Wahpeton. The agency forecasts crest heights only within seven days of their expected occurrence, but it has been indicating a 40 percent chance of a record crest at Fargo-Moorhead.

The downgrade at Breckenridge-Wahpeton won’t make a significant practical difference with the river at an already high level, said Tom Richels, retired Wilkin County engineer who is acting as a consultant for the county on spring flooding. But Richels said he expects more downgrades in the coming days.

The Weather Service has indicated the Red might crest at Fargo-Moorhead somewhere between 38 and 42 feet. The record there is 40.8, set in 2009...

FEMA image of Fargo, North Dakota's record flood in 2009


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