Weather Forecast


What recent snowfall means for the Red River Valley

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FARGO—A new blanket of six inches of snow on the ground has some concerned about spring flooding.

Others are hoping it eases drought conditions.

Climatologists say the 2017 drought left most of the state so dry, the six inches we got over the weekend is just making up for that lack of moisture.

Nothing more.

"Even if we have an above-normal snowfall, which we don't yet, we're still nearly 10 inches below normal what we should be. But even if we have slightly above normal, we'll be okay because the soil will soak up most of the precipitation," said Dr. Adnan Akyuz, ND State Climatologist.

Despite the snow banks that might sit on your lawn, experts aren't worried about flooding.

The last time the Red River hit the major flood stage was in 2012.

But they say that shouldn't happen this year, because everything is still so dry.

Akyuz said, "When springtime comes, and the snow melts, most of that liquid will be soaked into the soil before it moves into the Red River, so the soil is still the biggest reservoir for us, so there's no reason to panic, yet."

As we move into warmer weather, climatologists will be watching snow banks and river banks closely, watching for any changes that could impact spring flooding.

For now, only plow operators are busy, cleaning up parking lots and sidewalks.

But they're not complaining.

"It's kind of nice when you actually get some snow. The operators have something to push, they get excited about it, it's something for them to do," said Ben Dow, Public Works.

Public Works has had 28 people plowing around the clock.

That, and warmer temperatures will soon allow us to see pavement and parking lots, instead of piles of snow.

Right now, the Red River is around 14 feet high, minor flood stage is at 18 feet.