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Hydrologist: Ideal spring melt reduces flooding chances

An ideal spring melt has reduced the chance of flooding this spring if normal weather conditions continue, according to Allen Schlag, hydrologist with the National Weather Service in Bismarck.

An ideal spring melt has reduced the chance of flooding this spring if normal weather conditions continue, according to Allen Schlag, hydrologist with the National Weather Service in Bismarck.

The Missouri and James River Basins Hydrologic Outlook report issued Wednesday said the probability of flooding above the Jamestown Dam had decreased with only a few pockets of deep snow drifts remaining.

The snow that has melted has largely soaked into the ground, which has resulted in a little increase in river or reservoir levels.

The water level behind the Jamestown Dam has increased about 1 foot in the past 30 days, while the levels in the Pipestem Dam have dropped less than a foot since increases were released in February, according to the Bureau of Reclamation website.

"This means that if heavy spring rains were to occur, runoff and flooding risk would be enhanced," Schlag wrote in the report.

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Schlag said it would take a major rain event to trigger any sort of flooding risk.

"Something like 2 to 3 inches over the entire county," he said. "That would induce a lot of runoff but there is nothing like that in the forecast."

Jamestown has received a half inch of precipitation since Jan. 1, according to climate data from the National Weather Service. This compares to normal precipitation of 1.44 inches as of March 23.

Schlag said the conditions will likely continue for at least 10 days.

"For the short term, the dry trend continues," he said. "There are no weathermakers in the 10-day forecast."

Related Topics: WEATHER
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