NOAA: Prepare for Major Flooding on Red River

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is alerting residents in the Red River Valley, which separates North Dakota and Minnesota, of the potential for significant flooding in their communities this spring.

Several factors led to this early projection: The area has received between 200 and 300 percent of normal precipitation since September 2008, and December saw 23 days of snow, leaving water content of snowpack at 170 to 300 percent above normal.

"Based on the amount of rain and snowfall in the Red River Basin over the past few months, we’re forecasting a 50 to 75 percent chance of major flooding there this spring," said Scott Dummer, hydrologist in charge at the North Central River Forecast Center. "NOAA, along with emergency management and local government officials, is communicating the flood risk early to help residents prepare in advance."

Residents in the region can monitor the flood threat online (, where NOAA posts frequent updates of local conditions and forecasts using detailed graphics of specific locations and properties along the river.

Mark Frazier, head of NOAA’s weather forecast office in Grand Forks said this outlook is a moving target that will change as weather conditions within the Red River Basin evolve in the coming months.

To help people and communities prepare, NOAA offers the following tips:

  • Determine whether your community is in a flood-risk area and continue monitoring local flood conditions online.
  • Follow the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s flood preparedness advice at to safeguard your home and possessions.
  • Purchase a NOAA Weather Radio receiver with battery power option to stay apprised of quickly changing weather information.
  • Stay away from flooded areas; six inches of fast-moving water can knock you off your feet.
  • Study evacuation routes in advance and heed evacuation orders.
  • Turn Around, Don’t Drown -- never drive through flooded roads, no matter how well you know the area or how shallow you believe the water to be.