Spring Flood Threat Increased
Although current conditions still indicate a markedly lower threat for significant (moderate, major, record) spring riverine flooding than the previous 3 years, flood threat is up from 16 Feb outlook.
Risk for Minor flooding has increased across all of the Red River Basin, with most substantial increases felt along the mainstem Red River and at tributary points south of Halstad. There is now a 50 percent or greater risk for Moderate flooding along the Red River near Fargo-Moorhead, Oslo, and Pembina, and along the ND Wild Rice River near Abercrombie. Devils Lake is likely to fluctuate within one half foot of its current record high levels.
There is one to two inches of snow water content (SWE) across the basin. Portions of the Red lake and Roseau River Basins, and the extreme southern Red River Basin average nearly 2 inches SWE. Soil moisture is much less than the past three years. The top few inches of soil remain somewhat dry but are snow covered and quite frozen. Deeper soil levels appear damp, not wet.
Soils are frozen from 20 to 40 inches deep over most of the area, which is deeper than last year largely due to the lack of protective early season snowcover.
Expect near normal temperature and precipitation pattern through the early half of March, but with slightly warmer temperatures and slightly wetter than normal conditions in late March. Warmer and wetter late March conditions should promote an early spring runoff season, with widespread thaw conditions beginning in the late March and progressing into early April.
For April into May there is an increased risk of normal to slightly above normal temperatures into mid April, after which temperatures should adjust to a more climatologically normal pattern for the mid spring season. There is also an increased risk of normal to slightly above normal precipitation into April and May.