The Red River out of its banks just south of Moorhead in 2009.
Marlin Levison, Star Tribune
Upper Midwest blizzard not increasing flood fears
- Article by: BLAKE NICHOLSON
- Associated Press
- April 1, 2014 - 10:48 AM
BISMARCK, N.D. — A spring blizzard that dumped up to 20 inches of snow in parts of the Upper Midwest isn't increasing fears of spring flooding.
There wasn't much of a flood threat going into Monday's storm, and the snow that fell was light and without much moisture, according to National Weather Service officials in North Dakota.
"What we're expecting right now is really not much," meteorologist Tom Grafenauer in Grand Forks said. "The snow had an inch to maybe 2 inches of liquid equivalent in it. The flood threat was very minimal before the snow, and an inch or two of water isn't going to raise the flood threat significantly."
That is good news particularly for the Red River Valley of eastern North Dakota and northwestern Minnesota, where residents are looking forward to an uneventful spring season after preparing for major floods in four of the last five years.
Michael Mathews, a weather service meteorologist in Bismarck, also said "we're not anticipating any flood risk from this" in the western and central parts of the state.
As much as 10 inches of snow fell in northeast South Dakota, with lesser but still significant amounts to the west. State Climatologist Dennis Todey said the new snow might contribute to some localized flooding as temperatures warm, "but from a larger flood perspective, this doesn't change things too much."
Residents of the three states were digging out Tuesday as major roadways reopened — including large stretches of interstate highways in the Dakotas — though many schools in the region started classes late.
The National Weather Service said Bismarck set rainfall and snow records Monday for the date: Over half an inch of rain and 8.1 inches of snow. The snowfall smashed the city's previous March 31 record of 1.6 inches set in 1932. The rainfall record that was broken was set in 1877 — 137 years ago.
Grand Forks set a city snowfall record for the date with 11.5 inches, breaking the 13-year-old record of 4.1 inches.
Grafton, to the north of Grand Forks, received the most snow, with 20 inches.
In Minnesota, the weather service reported 18 inches of new snow at Thief River Falls and Warren and 16 inches in Salol in Roseau County. To the south, a tornado caused damage at three farms southeast of St. Leo in Yellow Medicine County, but no injuries were reported.
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