Latest NWS flood forecast: Fargo-Moorhead has 1 in 3 chance of record floodingDan Holm has lived next to the Red River for half a century, so when the latest forecast came out stating Fargo-Moorhead has a one in three chance of seeing a record flood this spring, Holm wasn’t fazed. “Like Denny said: ‘If it comes, we have to do what we have to do,” Holm said, quoting Fargo Mayor Dennis Walaker. Holm said his house on Fargo’s South River Drive suffered damage in the flood of 1997 when water collapsed a basement wall.
By: By Dave Olson, Forum Communications Co., The Jamestown Sun
Dan Holm has lived next to the Red River for half a century, so when the latest forecast came out stating Fargo-Moorhead has a one in three chance of seeing a record flood this spring, Holm wasn’t fazed.
“Like Denny said: ‘If it comes, we have to do what we have to do,” Holm said, quoting Fargo Mayor Dennis Walaker.
Holm said his house on Fargo’s South River Drive suffered damage in the flood of 1997 when water collapsed a basement wall.
He spent that summer raising his house 4 1/2 feet and constructing a new basement so stout engineers have called it overkill.
So, while Holm said city officials would like to see him and his neighbors leave the area, he has no desire to move from the house he shares with his wife, Edna.
“I can build a dike 7 feet tall and maintain it. I’ve done it before,” the 76-year-old Holm said.
A forecast released Thursday by the National Weather Service sees the risk of record-scale flooding for Fargo, Moorhead and cities in the southern Red River Valley increasing slightly from last month’s outlook.
The Red River set a record in Fargo in 2009 when it reached 40.84 feet. It reached its third highest crest in Wahpeton, N.D., that year at 17.5 feet.
Fargo and Wahpeton now have a roughly 35 percent risk of exceeding 2009 flood levels; last month, the forecast put the chances at about 25 percent.
The reason for the increased risk of record flooding is due to the Feb. 21 snowfall in the southern part of the Red River Valley, according to Greg Gust, a spokesman for the weather service.
Given current conditions, the weather service predicted a 10 percent chance the Red River would reach 43 feet in Fargo.
Gust said the outlook is for cool and wet weather through the month of March, meaning the spring thaw is not likely to happen until after March 20.
Given present conditions, Gust said it is unlikely Fargo-Moorhead will see the river crest prior to the first week in April.
A major winter storm is expected to hit the Great Plains around Tuesday of next week, Gust said.
Even if the Red River Valley sees some of that activity, the current flood forecast anticipates up to two inches of precipitation between now and the end of March.
If 3 to 4 inches of new precipitation falls, the chances for very severe flooding will rise, Gust said.
Both Fargo and Moorhead were preparing Thursday for whatever may come.
Fargo expects to fill its 2 millionth sandbag today on its way to a goal of 3 million.
More than 10,000 volunteers have helped at Fargo’s sandbag central since it opened Feb. 14.
Moorhead had its two spider sandbag-making machines running full bore for the first time Thursday as it works toward a goal of making 1 million sandbags.
The city issued a special CodeRed alert Thursday asking for volunteers to help put sandbags onto pallets for storage at its storehouse at 2419 12th Ave. S.
Storehouse hours are from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and from 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday.
Dave Olson is a reporter at The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead, which is owned by Forum Communications Co.
Reporter Heidi Shaffer contributed to this report.