Water Resources of the United States

PROJECT ALERT NOTICE (MN ND) Flood Risk for the Red River of the North in North Dakota and Minnesota

Date: Tue, 23 Apr 2013 09:49:09 EDT

Summary: Forecast major flooding in the Red River of the North Basin in North Dakota and Minnesota.

Flood Risk for the Red River of the North in North Dakota and Minnesota

The spring melt for the Red River of the North is beginning and will be in full progress by this coming weekend. Current weather forecast show day time temperatures in the 50's and 60's, with overnight lows above freezing by the end of the week. Major flooding is forecast all along the main stem Red River of the North.

Based on the most recent National Weather Service (NWS) probabilistic forecast for the Red River at Fargo, ND (110 years of record), there is a 40% chance that this year’s flood will exceed the peak of record that occurred on March 28, 2009. The Red River in Fargo is expected to reach the peak in the next 7 - 10 days.

Most rivers and streams in the Red River basin are still ice covered, so USGS field personnel continue to make flow measurements where possible to aid the NWS in flood forecasting model calibration and the Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) in flood control reservoir operations.

Two rapid deployment gages (RDG) have been installed in the Red River basin. One RDG is located in an ungaged tributary in the upper Red River basin upstream of Wahpeton, North Dakota; http://waterdata.usgs.gov/mn/nwis/uv/?site_no=05051350&PARAmeter_cd=00065,00060

The second RDG is deployed on the Red River in Grand Forks, North Dakota, with a water-surface velocity radar attached in an experimental effort to calculate real-time discharge values during open water periods. If successful an accurate discharge could be calculated in this low-gradient river allowing for more precise and timely flow data to be delivered to flood forecasters and flood fighting agencies such as the NWS and USACE. There are no results from this experimental effort as of this project alert since the Red River in Grand Forks is still ice covered.

Communication with other agencies as been carried out, through conference calls, emails and NWS Chat.

Sub-Region: Midwest; Region: Central United States

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