February 23, 2019 11:57 am

Forecasters predict moderate to major flood for Fargo; Manitoba crunching numbers

Flooding in Manitoba in 2011 prompted numerous evacuations.

David Lipnowski / The Canadian Press

Manitobans sick of the unseasonably cold weather have another thing to worry about – the lack of a slow melt could up the risk of a flood this spring.

The National Weather Service in the United States released their latest spring flood forecast for the Red River Basin Thursday and have warned those in Fargo, ND that there is a 95 per cent chance they will see moderate flooding come April and May. There is a smaller chance of major flooding, especially along the Red River.

The flood forecast for the Red River Basin in Fargo, ND, issued Feb. 21, 2019.

US National Weather Service

Don Haney of KFGO in Fargo told 680CJOB Friday that locals aren’t too worried, yet.

“It’s very manageable,” said Haney. “What it’s going to do is flood some lowland around the Red River, maybe flood a couple roads. If something more should happen, obviously we’ll know that, they’ll put out another report here in a couple of weeks.”

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While snow accumulation hasn’t been high throughout the winter, the snow has come in significant amounts in February in the form of round after round of major snowfalls and blizzards, said Haney, causing drifts and messes.

READ MORE: Governments pledge $540M to solve Lake Manitoba, Lake St. Martin flooding

“The problem is, like you folks, we’ve also been inundated with this Arctic cold and that is a worry,” said Haney.

“There’s no melting. And there doesn’t appear to be there’s going to be a much of a melt well into March.”

If the warm weather hits quickly while the frost in the ground is still deep, the NWS predicts an above-normal runoff.

The Province of Manitoba has yet to issue a flood forecast for 2019, but when they do, the water flowing north from the Red River Basin will be part of that analysis, said a provincial spokesperson. The forecast is expected to be issued next week but no firm date has been set.

The city of Fargo has worked to reduce flood impacts in their community since the last major flood for the Red River Basin in 2009, said Haney. Citizens filled two million sandbags to stem the flow, and since then the city has built some walls and has plans for a diversion similar to the floodway around Winnipeg.

However, that diversion has been held up by lawsuits, said Haney.

FROM THE ARCHIVES: Fire tears through downtown Grand Forks during flood of 1997

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