1997 Red River Flood, Part 1
Hydrologists identify five major factors that can determine spring flood conditions: a wet fall, an unusually cold winter, heavy snow accumulation, a cool spring followed by a warming trend, and heavy rainfall during the thaw. In the fall of 1996, the moisture level in Grand Forks was twice the average amount and the winter of ’96-’97 was cold and snowy. In mid-December, meteorologist Leon Osborne said, “We’ve had a month of January weather, and January isn’t even here yet.” In early April the city of Grand Forks was well into its “flood-fighting” mode when, on April 4th, Blizzard Hannah, the 8th blizzard of the winter, roared across North Dakota, dumping more rain and snow on the already dangerous situation and bringing flood fighting efforts to a standstill. The stage for disaster was set.
By Merrill Piepkorn
“Red River Rising”, by Ashley Shelby