Winter storms and blizzards in and around the Red River Valley Basin may have closed roads and brought near-zero visibility, but it will have a minimal impact on the local tributaries.
Officials at the National Weather Service (NWS) in Grand Forks said Friday all that April snow won’t have a significant impact on flooding.
The Red River crested in Grand Forks Thursday, making it the eighth-highest flood level the city has had on record.
Flood forecasters had originally expected the crest would come Friday or Saturday, but confirmed it happened at around noon April 11.
The mayor of East Grand Forks, Steven Gander, says he’s had about 100 conversations with people who were concerned about the flooding but he says the community is well prepared.
“We now have a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers-certified levy system that’s good to over 60 ft (18.28 m) elevation so these floods — 47, 48, 49 ft (14.32-14.94 m)— don’t even come close to what this flood control system can do.”
The NWS said the crest came in at 14.28 m, below the projected 14.6 m crest.
Since the Red River has seen its peak crest, officials said the snow that fell and is going to melt over the coming days will add a second, lower crest.
“If that had come in as rain, and if it had come in right over the Grand Forks area as snow did, then we’d have seen an additional spike in there because it would have come into the river system much more quickly,” said Greg Gust, NWS meteorologist.
In Grand Forks, snow started falling Thursday around 4:30 p.m. and was expected to continue Friday evening. It’s projected to leave about 17 cm of snow on the ground, which is about 11 mm of water, they said.
Fargo saw a similar snowfall total, but closer to South Dakota, totals are closer to about 30 cm of snow.
The NWS said as the Red River crest moves into Manitoba, it will be the fourth or fifth highest flood level in Pembina, ND at 15.7 m projected, whereas the record is 16.7 m in 1997.
WATCH: Red River flood watch continues as spring snow storm hits Grand Forks