WDAY: The News Leader

Published February 19, 2010, 04:24 PM

Weather Services raises the chance of a major spring flood

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - The National Weather Service is upping our chances for a "MAJOR" flood. In its latest flood forecast, the Weather Service says there's a 90-percent chance the Red River in Fargo-Moorhead will reach almost 33-feet. A 50-50 chance it'll get to 38.6 feet and a 10-percent chance it'll surpass last year's record, by reaching 43.7 feet. Last year, it got to 40.8 feet.

The National Weather Service says with moisture, precipitation, and other flood factors, we are actually worse than we were at this time last year. Depending on the thaw, we could flood more than last year, or less than last year.

It is still too early to know how badly we'll flood in Fargo in 2010, but what we do know is that last years flood hit record levels because of a rapid melt and record breaking precipitation in March. This year, forecasters say we don't need a March like in 2009 to get a flood like in 2009.

National weather service forecaster Greg Gust says we would still need a weather system to bring in new moisture, but it would not have to be as bad as last year. He says base conditions for a flood like fall moisture, stream flow, snow pack and frost depth are worse than last year.

The climate prediction center forecasts cool and wet conditions will continue.

But on the other side of the 25 percent chance of a 40.8 ft crest is the 75 percent chance it won't get that high. Flood fight veteran Fargo Mayor Dennis Walaker is not concerned.

As the National Weather Service recommends, the city of Fargo is preparing for some kind of flood fight. Its goal is to fill one million sandbags ahead of time.

Looking ahead to the next 14 days, National Weather Service forecasters says they don't see any major precipitation moving into our area. However, they're encouraging everyone to prepare for an eventful flood season.

With a new flood outlook for this spring, Fargo city leaders are upping the amount of sandbags they want filled for the flood fight. They're now calling for a million and a half.

City leaders are asking for those sandbags to start being filled on March first. Originally, Mayor Walaker asked for one million sandbags, to get ahead of a possible flood. But now, leaders say they added 500 thousand more, just to be safe. They say they don't want to be scrambling to fill more bags at the last minute.

“A million and-a-half, we hope we don't need to go beyond that, but if we need to, we're prepared to do that.>

The city is asking for volunteers to help, Firstlink is coordinating volunteers again this spring. You can 476-4000.