Opinions Vary as to the Potential of a Red River Flood - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Opinions Vary as to the Potential of a Red River Flood

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It's the first time Fargo's Mayor, Dennis Walaker, isn't willing to wait for the National Weather Services prediction of the Red River's crest. He says now is the time to prepare and the community has to help get the ball rolling. Valley News Team's Eric Crest talked to the experts outside of politics who have been keeping a close eye on the Red River and the weather.

With snow on the ground and the potential of more to come one thing is on many peoples minds in the valley. Ken Hellevang of NDSU's Extension Services is just one of the majority, "I think everyone is impatiently waiting to try and figure out what that crest is going to be." Says Hellevang.

But surprisingly the real wait has more to do with the mid April temperatures than all the snow on the ground. Hellevang says that we need the perfect combination of temperatures and precipitation to avoid what many have gotten used too. "Everyone is talking about a more rapid warm up than what we've seen in the past. The later it is in April the more likely we're going to see that kind of a quick flood occurrence." Says Hellevang.

That's part of the theory behind opening up Sand Bag Central again for 500 thousand more sandbags after the most recent stint of snow. But Adnan Akyuz, a Climatologist at NDSU says that even though we got more snow, and it came later than usual, the ground could use it."We know that last fall was very dry and in fact it was the 33rd driest fall in the history of Fargo- Moorhead area. So that's great because this melting is going to be accepted by the top soil." Says Akyuz.

Of course, the temperatures would have to cooperate. There's not enough room in the river for it all to melt at once. But Akyuz says the monthly forecast is positive, "northern North Dakota and northern Minnesota is the only location in the US that has a higher probability of having cooler than normal temps."

So as we wait for the temperature, snow, and possibly rain to come and begin preparing for a potential flood. It seems folks in the valley have learned it's better to be ready than washed up.

"Time for the wishful thinking to transition into some preparation for a flood of some magnitude." Says Hellevang.

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