Spring 2019 flooding in Minnesota

Weather service: Risk of Red River flooding down slightly

Woodlawn Park
Elias Aipperspach on the banks of the swollen Red River in Moorhead's Woodlawn Park.
Nathaniel Minor | MPR News 2013

The risk of spring flooding in the Red River Valley has been reduced slightly because of limited precipitation in the last few weeks, although National Weather Service forecasters said Thursday there's still a lot of moisture in the system.

The latest outlook shows a 50 percent chance that the Red River in the Fargo and Moorhead, Minnesota, area will reach just under 35 feet, or 17 feet above flood stage. That could lead to some road and bridge closures, but most structures would not be threatened.

There's a 5 percent chance the river could top 39 feet, down 5 percent from the last report. Fargo city leaders said earlier this week they would fill 250,000 sandbags in case that happens.

The weather service said precipitation totals since Sept. 1 remain at record highs in many areas along the Red River and the snowpack is at or above normal and could lead to a high runoff. However, the forecast no longer indicates a cooler and wetter late winter and early spring period.

Conditions could change quickly depending on the rate of thaw and spring rains, the report said.

“Thus March will likely remain a big risk factor, as it always is,” weather service meteorologist Greg Gust said.

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