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Published April 17, 2013, 06:44 PM

National Weather Service delivers bad flood news for Fargo

Grand Forks, ND (WDAY TV) - We begin with unsettling News from the National Weather Service. Their message was clear, telling us in their words “Prepare for a flood of record.”

By: Kevin Wallevand, WDAY Staff Reports, WDAY

Grand Forks, ND (WDAY TV) - We begin with unsettling News from the National Weather Service. Their message was clear, telling us in their words “Prepare for a flood of record.”

The weather service says Fargo now has a 50 percent chance of hitting 40 feet. That is a game changer.

WDAY's Kevin Wallevand sat in on a briefing at the National Weather Service Office in Grand Forks

The last time we witnessed a crest this late? 1897. Temps will be cool in the coming days but look for some movement in the rivers this coming weekend, especially south of Wahpeton-Breckenridge.

But on top of recent heavy snow and more snow expected in the next few days, National Weather Service Officials say there's a good chance we could hit 40 feet in Fargo by the end of April.

The issue, the recipe is everything, an unending winter, lack of melt, and the snowpack that is still getting moisture.

Greg Gust, National Weather Service: “At this point we have an unprecedented delay to the spring melt, this is now on track. It is currently the latest onset of spring snowmelt for the historical record.”

The National Weather Service used a power point to bring us the ominous news this afternoon. The first thing on the screen was: Will this be the Big One?

Gust: “Heavy precipitation has occurred and is expected to occur. The snow water that is out there right now is sufficient for a big flood.”

Never before has the national weather service had to combine, even add scientific methods to come up with this latest flood forecast.”

Gust: “Because from the historical record, there becomes no longer any flood that has behaved like this.”

Compared to the old days, the latest computer software should be able to predict about anything, but with an unprecedented late crest, snowfall, and a record cold spring, there was no choice.

Gust: “We encourage people to prepare for flood of record.”

WDAY 6 Meteorologist Daryl Ritchison says all of the strange spring variables have made this so hard to predict.

Daryl Ritchison, WDAY 6 Meteorologist: “The Red River is a little bit different. We’re so flat, it’s so hard. Everyone realizes, I think, that we live in a very dynamic, everchanging climate. Forecasting the weather here is different. Forecasting the Red River is even harder than forecasting the weather.”

Indeed, the factors are rolling in like the creeks in the Red River Basin. And so, what is needed in the coming days.

Gust: “Warming up into the 40’s, still some overnight freezing, no precipitation whatsoever, and we’re still going to have a big flood.”

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