On this date in 2011, a year which featured the third consecutive severe spring flood on the Red River, a thunderstorm moving through Fargo-Moorhead dropped 0.97 inches of rain. The month had started with 2.87 inches on Aug. 1, giving us 3.84 inches for the first six days of August and 21.84 inches for the year to date.
The Red River reached a summer crest near 26 feet a few days later, flooding all the park lands along the river and forcing the closure of two Fargo-Moorhead bridges. With conditions so wet, there was already talk about the 2012 spring flood season.
Then suddenly, the weather turned dry. From Aug. 7 through Dec. 31, only an additional 2.21 inches of rain and melted snow was recorded. The winter of 2011-2012 was extremely mild and dry, and there was no spring flood in 2012. A similar story unfolded this past winter when a heavy precipitation streak ended suddenly, leaving us with a much lower spring flood than expected.