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NWS gives Red River 40% of setting record - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

NWS gives Red River 40% of setting record

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UPDATE

The National Weather Service says there's a 40 percent chance that flooding from the Red River in Fargo could set a record, up from 15 percent in March.

The new forecast released Wednesday shows that the river should peak in a range between 39 and 42 feet, likely in late April or early May. Flood stage is 18 feet. The record flood was 40.84 feet in 2009.

The last forecast by the weather service, based on historical probabilities, gave the 50 percent chance of peaking at 38 feet in Fargo.

It will be the fourth major flood in five years for the Fargo and Moorhead, Minn., area.

Fargo officials said earlier this week they planned to protect the city to 41 feet. Officials were not immediately available for comment Wednesday.

ORIGINAL STORY

The National Weather Service is unveiling a new flood forecasting system today to address what It calls an unprecedented situation in the southern Red River Valley.  

The weather service has historically issued forecasts based on historical probabilities until the ice melts, at which time it bases its predictions on real-water flows. Because Fargo has received double the normal precipitation since March 1 and is looking at its latest river crest on record, forecasters say they developed a new model to narrow down the crest possibilities. 

The weather service earlier gave the Red River a 50 percent chance of peaking at 38 feet in Fargo, which is about 3 feet under the all-time record in 2009.

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