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Does A Tough Winter Mean Spring Flooding? - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Does A Tough Winter Mean Spring Flooding?

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    It was another brutally cold week across our region, and the latest statistics prove it's been a tough winter.

  Since December 1, until today, Grand Forks is ranked as having its tenth coldest winter on record, with an average temperature of one-point-six degrees.  Fargo is not ranked in the top 15 for coldest winters.

  However, when it comes to snow depth records,  Fargo has its 13th snowiest winter on record with 22.9 inches so far. Grand Forks has it's 3rd snowiest winter on record with 39.8 inches.                                        

  Our long run of extreme cold could increase the potential for spring flooding by increasing the frost depth. A deeper frost depth means, water is more likely to flow into rivers, rather than seep into the ground.

  However, the experts say at this point in our winter, all this snow is actually a benefit to decreasing the potential for spring flooding.

Mark Ewens, National Weather Service: "But since we've had a decent snow pack and the ground has been relatively covered, frost depths are not as deep as they could be… had the ground been bare or very saturated."

  Ewens says the average frost depth around the Valley is 30-inches, which is much better than many other years. Plus, there's good news regarding areas that have more than average snow on the ground.

Mark Ewens: "But it's also been a pretty dry snow. We've had some awfully cold weather, when a lot of those snows occurred… not a lot of moisture content."

  Ewens says all those factors and much more will be run through a computer model that forecasts spring flooding. That first… tentative report is set to be released Friday morning.

Mark Ewens: "So, there's going to be more snowfall, more pattern changes…. This is just a soft outlook. It kind of gives a heads up or status of where we are at this time."

  The National Weather Service is scheduled to release it's initial, Spring flood forecast on Friday morning.

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