WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Residents on both sides of the Red River of the North between North Dakota and Minnesota will be keeping a close eye on the river's level over the next few weeks. National Weather Service (NWS) hydrologists forecast the potential for flooding in this region will increase during the next week to 10 days.
NWS anticipates rainfall and ice jams along the river and its tributaries may bring about moderate to major flooding to several riverfront communities. Among them is East Grand Forks, Minn., where the river is expected to crest as high as 46 feet sometime between April 2 & 3. Flood stage at that point is 28 feet. At 46 feet, flooding would be moderate to major, according to the NWS.
Between April 3 & 4, residents of Oslo, Minn., could see the river rise to 37 feet, or nine feet above flood stage. This would be considered a major flood event for the community of 360 and inundation of primary and secondary roads is possible. Due to the existing levee system, local officials do not believe this level of flooding would threaten any structures.
By April 4, the river is expected to be near 40 feet at Drayton, ND, which is eight feet above flood stage. Like Oslo, local officials believe this would cause a major flood event, impacting nearby roads and houses. At Pembina, ND, located on the US/Canadian border, a crest of 47-49 feet is anticipated between April 7 & 9. At five to seven feet above flood stage, flooding would fall into the moderate category, according to the NWS. Some secondary roads would be impacted.
Rain is in the forecast all along the Red River between March 31 and April 1. There is also concern for water levels along tributaries serving the Red River of the North. For example, in Crookston, Minn., located southeast of East Grand Forks, along the Red Lake River, ice jams may push water levels above those typically found during the spring thaw. As a result, the river could rise as high as nine feet above flood stage between today and Thursday. This could cause major flooding on a localized basis, and equal or exceed the record flood levels of 1997.
Besides the constant monitoring of water levels by officials in both states, local emergency operations centers have been activated in the Minnesota towns of Oslo, Crookston and East Grand Forks. Sandbagging operations are also underway in those communities.