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Published February 16, 2012, 01:16 PM

Forecasters optimistic Minnesota will escape flooding

CHANHASSEN, Minn. (AP) — Forecasters say they're still optimistic the Minnesota and Upper Mississippi River basins will escape flooding this spring.

CHANHASSEN, Minn. (AP) — Forecasters say they're still optimistic the Minnesota and Upper Mississippi River basins will escape flooding this spring.

The National Weather Service is updating its spring flooding outlooks for the region Thursday. And hydrologist Diane Cooper says the risk remain below normal because of the exceedingly dry winter.

For example, she says, Long Prairie has a historical risk of reaching flood stage on the Long Prairie River 30 percent of the time. This spring, it's looking at a 12 percent chance. St. Paul normally has a 25 percent chance of reaching flood stage on the Mississippi, but the risk is now down around 3 percent.

Nearly all of Minnesota remains in a drought with little snow cover. But Cooper says residents in flood-prone areas should keep their insurance just in case.

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