Flood warnings continue for northern Red River Valley

Oslo is expected to see the worst flooding in the region, but flood warnings continue along the Red River and its tributaries.

The Forest River, which crested at 6.11 feet on Wednesday night, March 23, flooded roads in Minto, North Dakota, south of the Highway 81 bridge.
Contributed / Hallie Reilly
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OSLO, Minn. – The Red River of the North is expected to crest in Oslo, Minnesota, early on Monday morning, March 28, at a height of 34 feet, but community leaders are not worried about the flood’s effects on the town.

“It’s something we talk about constantly, just to make sure that we’re ready to go no matter what,” said Erika Martens, mayor of Oslo. “I hate to say it, but we don’t get very excited about it — not anxious or scared — because it’s going to come and we’re just going to deal with it how we’ve dealt with it for the last 20 years.”

This year’s crest is expected to be in the range considered moderate flooding, which is any height between 30 and 36 feet. In Oslo, the flood stage is 26 feet, which the river reached this year early on Thursday morning. The highest crest in Oslo was in 2009, when the river reached a height of 38.37 feet.

In years with heavier flooding, water can cover the main roads into Oslo, making the town an island. According to the National Weather Service, Highways 220 and 317, north of Oslo, generally flood at 35 feet. State Highway 1 west of Oslo is covered at 37.5 feet.

The North Dakota Department of Environmental Quality will launch a pilot project to test paying landowners for results, as opposed to simply paying for conservation projects with the assumption they benefit water quality.

With the levee around Oslo, there is no need for sandbagging to protect the town and if flooding does isolate the town, the Oslo Fire Department, Marshall County and Minnesota National Guard are prepared to help.


“It’s a smooth running machine. We just take it day by day, step by step,” said Martens.

She says the grocery store, restaurant and bar in Oslo have been stocking up, just in case.

Oslo is expected to see the worst flooding in the region, but flood warnings continue along the Red River and its tributaries. On Wednesday night, the weather service extended flood warnings for the Red River at East Grand Forks and Halstad, and for the Red Lake River at Crookston. Flood warnings continue for the Red River at Pembina and Drayton and the Forest River at Minto.

The Red River in Drayton is expected to rise above the flood stage of 32 feet late on Saturday evening, and continue to rise to 34.5 feet by next Wednesday afternoon, which is considered minor flooding.

Flooding has been reported near Minto, North Dakota on roads south of Highway 81 bridge. The weather service reports that water levels on the Forest River at Minto are receding after a crest of 6.11 feet on Wednesday night.

The Minnesota Department of Transportation reported water over Highway 9 south of Ada, Minnesota, which is along the Wild Rice River on Wednesday evening.

Related Topics: RED RIVER
Ingrid Harbo joined the Grand Forks Herald in September 2021.

Harbo covers Grand Forks region news, and also writes about business in Grand Forks and the surrounding area.

Readers can reach Harbo at 701-780-1124 or Follow her on Twitter @ingridaharbo.
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