WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Hydrologists at the National Weather Service (NWS) indicate that the Red River of the North and Sheyenne Basins may experience moderate to major overland and river flooding this spring. The Devil's Lake Basin is forecast to experience severe flooding and is expected to crest at a record high sometime this summer.
The outlook is based on many factors, including current soil moisture content, snow water equivalents and anticipated normal precipitation. Snow amounts are much lower this time than during same period in 1997, when record flooding destroyed parts of the Red River Valley including the Grand Forks area. However, soil moisture content has been above normal for eastern North Dakota and northwestern Minnesota and moderate to major flooding could occur on the Red River of the North Basin from Grand Forks north to the Canadian border.
Moderate flooding is expected for the Red River south of Grand Forks. Moderate flooding is also in the outlook for the tributaries of the Red River, including the confluence of the Sheyenne River in North Dakota and the confluence of the Red Lake River in Minnesota. Areas possibly affected include Kindred, ND, north to Grand Forks and Crookston, Minn., west to East Grand Forks, Minn.
The Devil's Lake Basin is again expected to see to severe flooding. The present lake level is 1440.0 ft. Mean Sea Level (MSL) and is expected to crest at 1445.5 ft. sometime between June and early August, surpassing last year's record of 1444.7 ft. MSL. Compounding the problem is the chronic high water condition that has been occurring in the area for the past seven years. The lake is in a closed basin with no outlet and annual precipitation has gradually exceeded evaporation, creating new record lake levels during the past several years.
FEMA officials in the Denver office (Region VIII) are monitoring the situation and are in contact with state officials. Local agencies are participating in flood preparedness, planning, and response efforts.