Floodwaters expected to recede throughout Red River Valley

Floodwater flows through a bridge on North Dakota Highway 54 west of Oslo, Minn. on Wednesday, Oct. 16. Photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald

Flooding continues throughout the Red River Valley but National Weather Service reports indicate that, in many spots, the worst is over.

Water levels along the Red River are expected to drop over the weekend and into next week. Near East Grand Forks, the river crested Wednesday, Oct. 16, at 40.97 feet and dropped to 40.4 feet by Friday, Oct. 18. River levels are expected to slip into the minor flood stage Saturday, falling below the 40-foot moderate marking level. The river crested at 46.87 feet this spring in April.

Roads north of Oslo closed earlier in the week and remained closed Friday as the river slowly receded from Thursday’s crest of 36.72 feet. The area’s record is 38.4 feet in 2009. The city made national headlines this spring when roads in and out of the town were drowned out by floodwaters, turning the town into an island.

Sandbag prep

North of Oslo, the Red River is expected to crest Sunday and start decreasing around Tuesday. The river entered into a moderate flood stage of 38 feet on Friday morning.

River levels in Grand Forks are the highest ever recorded for this time of year, the weather service said. Minor to moderate flooding on tributary rivers has added to the situation. Grand Forks had the rainiest September on record followed by an early October blizzard that blanketed the region in snow. The storm closed highways, knocked down trees and cut power throughout the region as it gained strength over a three-day period.


Flood conditions this fall were comparable to levels seen in the spring. Meteorologists said the wet fall is one of many factors that could determine how intense flooding will be this spring, though predictions indicate it is likely the region will see above normal precipitation during December, January and February.

Tess covers crime and courts for the Grand Forks Herald. She previously worked for the Associated Press, Lincoln Journal Star, Omaha World-Herald and The Voice News. Reach her at (701) 780-1267, or on Twitter @ByTessWilliams.
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