It looks like people living in the northern Red River Valley are in for another flood fight this spring.

The National Weather Service on Tuesday forecast a 70 percent chance of a 2009-like flood at Pembina, N.D., and better than 50-50 chance of major flooding in many cities, including Grand Forks, Drayton and Neche, N.D., and Oslo, Minn., among others.

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"After the last couple of days here, with another 4 inches of snow or more, we figured we'd be in for another round of floods," said Scott Kosmatka, mayor of Oslo, Minn., located on the Red River about 25 miles north of Grand Forks.

The initial outlook indicates a 30 percent chance that the Red River at Oslo will reach 38.4 feet. That's about 2.5 inches lower than record crest of 38.19 feet, set in 2009.

"It really sucks that we have to do this again," he said. "This will be our third year in a row."

Oslo becomes virtually isolated during major flood fights, with water running over all roads leading to the community of 360.

In 2009, the town had no vehicle traffic for about six weeks, including three weeks when all traffic was stopped. It took another three to four weeks to repair roads to a point that they could handle traffic.

Pembina, N.D., has a 70 percent chance of experiencing flooding at least as severe as the major flood of 2009 and about a 20 percent probability of breaking the 1997 record of 54.94 feet.

Pembina County Emergency Manager Jill Pedersen said county officials already have started preliminary preparations for a spring flood battle.

While major flooding is expected in many communities throughout the Red River Valley, the Weather Services lists the chances of reaching 2009 levels at 20 percent of less in much of the valley.

The 2009 flood, with a crest of 52.66 feet, was the second-worst flood in Pembina's history.

Major flooding is expected on all forecast locations on the mainstem of the Red River of and on many forecast locations on its Minnesota and North Dakota tributaries.

The Weather Service said the potential for major flooding has increased significantly because of wet soils before freeze-up, above-normal water in the southern basin snowpack and the probability of a cooler- and wetter-than-normal spring.

The Weather Service predicts a better-than-even chance of major flooding at:

n Abercrombie, N.D.

n Drayton, N.D.

n Fargo

n Grand Forks

n Halstad, Minn.

n Harwood, N.D.

n Hendrum, Minn.

n Kindred, N.D.

n Lisbon, N.D.

n Oslo, Minn.

n Pembina, N.D.

n Neche, N.D.

n Shelly, Minn.

n Wahpeton, N.D.

n West Fargo

It also forecasts a better-than 50-percent chance of moderate flooding at:

n Dilworth, Minn.

n Enderlin, N.D.

n Grafton, N.D.

n Hallock, Minn.

n Hawley, Minn.

n Hillsboro, N.D.

n Mapleton, N.D.

n Shelly, Minn.

n Sabin, Minn.

n Twin Valley, Minn.

n Valley City, N.D.

Reach Bonham at (701) 780-1110; (800) 477-6572, ext. 110; or send e-mail to

Tags: news north Dakota Minnesota red river basin flooding national weather service grand forks fargo Pembina nd oslo mn