Flood risk continues to fall along Red River at Fargo-Moorhead

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Fargo middle school students fill sandbags on March 10 in preparation for potential spring flooding. Recent forecasts have predicted a lesser chance of flooding this spring.
Dan Gunderson | MPR News

A slow, gentle spring melt with little precipitation has significantly reduced the flood threat along the Red River in the Fargo-Moorhead area.

Earlier this month, Fargo residents filled several hundred thousand sandbags in anticipation of a possible top-five flood, in part due to carryover moisture in the soil from last year's wet fall.

But on Thursday, National Weather Service forecaster Greg Gust said most of the Red River basin has had well-below-normal moisture since January.

"That's the area that is running an inch to an inch and a half below normal precipitation during the last two months," he said. "We're skipping, missing most of the events that have happened (in the Upper Midwest in the last two months."

Gust also said the ideal spring melt is forecast to continue, and it appears the area will miss any significant rain or snow in the next two weeks. He said the Red River in Fargo-Moorhead could crest on April 3 at a level well below a top-10 flood -- a level that will have relatively little impact on the two cities.

Updated crest forecasts for Grand Forks and points to the north, including Oslo, Minn., have not yet been released. Forecasters said those crests happen later, and could be affected by precipitation more than two weeks out.

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