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Published April 25, 2013, 01:39 PM

NWS: Red will hit 38 feet next Thursday, still no crest prediction

FARGO – The Red River here could hit 38 feet by next Thursday, according to an updated forecast released by the National Weather Service this afternoon.

By: Erik Burgess, INFORUM, Forum News Service

FARGO – The Red River here could hit 38 feet by next Thursday, according to an updated forecast released by the National Weather Service this afternoon.

The updated seven-day forecast says the crest of the river is still more than a week away but is likely to be in the 38- to 40-foot range sometime late next week.

The Red was at 18.47 feet at about 11 a.m. today.

It is predicted to hit 32.7 feet on Monday, 35.9 feet on Tuesday, and 37.5 feet on Wednesday.

The record flood of 40.84 feet was set in 2009. A 38-foot crest here would be the fifth-highest on record, about a foot lower than 2011 and about a foot higher than 2010.

The prediction hydrograph that accompanies the new outlook appears to show the rises in the river flattening out at 38 feet, but forecasters warn that heavy rains on Tuesday or Wednesday could bump that up to 40 feet.

City officials decided Wednesday night to throw only 100,000 sandbags to protect the city up to 40 feet. Sandbag deployment finished on Wednesday with enough bags across Fargo to protect to at least 41 feet. Neighborhoods on the city’s north side received enough bags Tuesday to protect to 43 feet, before a lowered crest forecast was issued.

The Red River at Wahpeton is now expected to crest at 15 feet on Sunday, a day earlier than previously predicted, according to the updated outlook. A 15-foot flood would be the 12th-worst on record there.

The river in Wahpeton was at 12 feet at 11:30 a.m. today. Major flood stage there is 14 feet, and the record flood of 1997 crested at 19.42 feet.

A crest between 36 and 38 feet is expected early next week on the Red River at Hickson, forecasters said. The Red there should rise to 37 feet by Tuesday, then drop to 36.6 feet on Wednesday and 35.8 feet on Thursday.

Major flood stage on the Red in Hickson is 38 feet. Moderate flood stage is 34 feet. A crest of 37 feet would be the fourth-highest in recorded history. The record was set in 2009 at 39.04 feet.

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