The amount of water available to produce floods is at a much higher than average level for Minnesota, including the Minnesota, Red, Mississippi and Saint Croix river drainages, not to mention smaller rivers and streams. As I write this personnel at the National Weather Service are dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s on watches and warnings for this area.
The snow pack has been melting for a few days and continues to do so, and is actually doing it at a nice pace. The melting stops over night as it gets cold, and only slowly resumes until the warmest part of the day, then slows down again. If the melting stays like this, flooding will be reduced. If it rains and gets very warm, we’re screwed.
It will be interesting to see how Fargo and other communities along the Red River react to there being no significant flooding, should that happen. Will the hundreds who have spent thousands of hours messing around with sand bags over the last couple of weeks take credit for stopping a flood that didn’t happen? Will he good citizens of the Red River Valley realize that they spent piles of time and money for something that didn’t happen, and thus, experienced a costly non-flood that would not have happened if the floods were not an issue? What I’m getting at, here, is the prospect that even in years when there is no flood, the threat of a flood is real, and costly, and that cost (monetary, emotional, social) should be considered when thinking about things like “do we move our homes and businesses out of the flood zone?”
The next few days will stay cold at night and not too warm during the day, but tomorrow there will be enough rain to hasten snow pack disintegration. There may be some flooding in spots, therefore, on Sunday. We are expecting more rain mid week, but still temperatures will be cool and Wednesday’s rain may actually fall as the frozen stuff (a.k.a. snow). And, remarkably, next weekend it will snow a bit more, and over the next 10 days, the high temperature will not pass about 40F and the lows will be below freezing almost every night across most of the state.
This means that a) the flooding may end up not being as bad as it could be, if enough snow pack gently melts away and b) the original forecasts, dating back a week or so, of major flooding happening in early April seem right. But do beware: Tomorrow’s rain may be a problem for you, depending on where you live.
Don’t drive into the water. Sounds like simple advice but some of you will, and some of you will ruin your cars or die or some other stupid thing. We have a whole warehouse of Darwin Awards.
Here’s a nice list of flooding related resources from WCCO.