Flood Preparedness 101: Tips Resurface in ND After Big Snowmelt
Wednesday, April 19, 2023
North Dakota is no stranger to spring floods, but after several late winter bursts, rapid snowmelt has led to heightened concerns about rivers swelling, and forecasters have some advice for residents of high-risk areas.
The National Weather Service said overland flooding and river flooding have really started to pick up in the eastern half of the state, especially in the Red River Valley.
Jim Kaiser, warning coordination meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Grand Forks, said an extended period of deep snow paved the way for problems once temperatures started to warm up.
"After all that snow, we had a lot of closed, clogged ditches and drains," Kaiser observed. "The river system took a long time for that meltwater to open things up."
Kaiser noted FEMA has maps posted online to help determine whether you live in a floodplain. He added transportation departments also post road closures and information about where flooding is occurring.
State leaders urged people to plan ahead and identify the fastest way to higher ground if the threat becomes more imminent in their area.
Kaiser emphasized a watchful eye from residents can be helpful in monitoring rising water levels and reporting if anything stands out.
"You see water that sits or moves in a certain way on the lay of the land and all of a sudden, it's doing something a little different," Kaiser suggested. "Maybe it's not moving, right, when it typically does at those levels? That's the sign of an ice jam, or, you know, something's clogging the system."
He stressed if you see something unusual, contacting local authorities can make a difference in warning the public about what is happening. The weather service noted flood risk is above long-term historical averages across the mainstream Red River and sections of southeastern North Dakota.
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