North Central US prepares for spring floods, again

By Nikki Bruce - 28 Feb 2011 20:13:0 GMT
North Central US prepares for spring floods, again

A recent forecast from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has predicted that there will be major flooding in the North Central region of the United States this spring for the third consecutive year.

There are a number of areas where the flooding is predicted to be at its worst; The Red River of the North which lies along the state lines of North Dakota and Northwest Minnesota is one of the main areas that will be affected, specifically Fargo and North Forks (ND) which currently have a 95% chance of exceeding their respective major flood stages. Furthermore, if the flooding is as bad as expected then parts of downtown Fargo will also be affected and temporary dikes will need to be erected to combat the effects of the flooding.

Other affected areas will be the immediate areas surrounding the James River and the Big Sioux River in South Dakota and also the area around the Upper Mississippi River in Minnesota. The NOAA have suggested that the flooding may even exceed the major flood stage of 17 feet in St Paul, Minnesota where it will breach the secondary flood walls which are designed to protect St Paul airport.

The reason for the higher rate of flooding is due to a culmination of various events. The majority of the ground in the north-central United States has become frozen and covered with snow after the winter months and once combined with below-average temperatures and above average amounts of rainfall for February, it could pose major problems. In March and April, as the temperatures rise, the snow will begin to melt whilst at the same time the ground will thaw out creating excess water, this will then run into rivers and streams in the area causing them to swell.

In preparation for the likely hood of spring flooding, agents from the National Weather Service have been working closely with United States and Canadian agencies to try and get a head start on combating the effects of the floods. The NOAA have also released their own flood safety tips available on their website.