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John Wheeler: The spring flood outlook is evolving

Our cold and snowy March has obviously changed things and there certainly will be a more significant flood this spring.

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FARGO โ€” A little over a month ago, the spring flood in the Red River Basin was looking like a spring dream: a near-average winter snowpack melting into drier than average soil. Spring flooding would have mostly replenished needed soil moisture and helped the start of the planting season. Our cold and snowy March has obviously changed things, and there certainly will be a more significant flood this spring.

The greatest concern at this point is the very cold weather pattern, which could be bad if it extends deep into April when the likelihood of a sudden warm-up and heavy rainfall is greater. A very late melt combined with a rainy start to spring could turn fields into a spring planting quagmire. On the other hand, the cold pattern could be a good thing if April precipitation is limited. The seriousness of the flood is now closely related to what precipitation falls between now and then.

John Wheeler is Chief Meteorologist for WDAY, a position he has had since May of 1985. Wheeler grew up in the South, in Louisiana and Alabama, and cites his family's move to the Midwest as important to developing his fascination with weather and climate. Wheeler lived in Wisconsin and Iowa as a teenager. He attended Iowa State University and achieved a B.S. degree in Meteorology in 1984. Wheeler worked about a year at WOI-TV in central Iowa before moving to Fargo and WDAY..
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