The National Weather Service’s central region director Lynn Maximuk recently said that her agency is expecting “significant flooding when the snow begins to melt” in areas along the northern Mississippi River. The service is also saying that other rivers in the region face good chances of flooding in the upcoming months as the deep snow begins to melt.
Those areas most likely to see flooding are along the Upper Mississippi River which includes parts of Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois and Missouri. The Red River in North Dakota and Minnesota, the James River in South Dakota and Devils Lake in North Dakota are also at risk of flooding.
It is almost certain that major flooding will occur along the Red River. Both Minnesota and North Dakota residents are already busy at work filling sand bags. They are hoping that the sand will hold back what might become record-breaking crests. The National Weather Service has reported that it has seen no improvements in the conditions along the river from what they saw three weeks ago, which is not a good sign for nervous home and business owners in the area.
In 2009, the Red River reached a record-breaking crest of over 40 feet in Fargo and it swelled to over 50 feet in 1997 at Grand Forks. Right now, the National Weather Service is saying that there is a better than 50 percent chance that the crests will be over 50 feet in Grand Forks.
The weather service is also warning that no river in the state of Minnesota will be immune from flooding this spring. It is expected that flooding will close some of the main bridges connecting St. Paul with Minneapolis. Emergency management officials have told Minnesota residents to take out flood insurance if they live in a high risk area. The peak flood season is estimated to take place during the last two weeks of March leading into the first two weeks of April. The temperatures in the Upper Midwest have already reached the lower 50s in recent days, following one of the snowiest and coldest winters in many decades. Residents are already on edge in the region, hoping that somehow their area escapes what is shaping up to be the inevitable.
In Fargo, residents are expected to fill over three million sand bags. In nearby Moorhead, the sand bag duties have been out-sourced to help to safeguard the city from the ravages of flood waters.