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Slow spring melt working in favor of Red River Valley

National Weather Service Grand Forks

Hydrologist Amanda Lee says the slow thaw could mean rivers stay high well into the month of May.

Coupled with low soil moisture and normal river levels at freeze-up last fall, the slow spring thaw seems to be another factor in a favorable spring flood outlook for the Red River Valley.

Amanda Lee is a hydrologist with the National Weather Service in Grand Forks. She says the melt has been slow to reach the river systems due to the amount of room in the soil, but that extra room is running out in many areas – meaning any excess precipitation will run off immediately. A storm system next week may add some more uncertainty to the mix, but temperatures have been lowering as well, and with that – a slower melt.

"The slower melt in some areas is really working in our favor, so then all the water won't get - the timing won't overlap where all the water from everywhere gets to the same spot at the same time. So we might see, you know, like here in Grand Forks - the Red Lake River water may get here before the push from the southern Red, and things like that. The timing might be just right to not see the highest crests that were potentially possible; but with that said, in that southeast North Dakota area - since they're still pretty locked up and frozen, that's going to be the area to watch as it enters the Red."

Crests on the mainstem Red River could still be a couple of weeks away, and with the slower melt and additional precipitation – it could mean rivers would stay high into the month of May.

The National Weather Service is issuing another flood forecast next week on Monday.