Rising river levels bring flood warnings

Published: Mar. 2, 2020 at 7:02 PM CST
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Warmer weather isn't good news for everyone. The National Weather Service issued flood warnings this weekend for parts of the state, and there are concerns this is an omen for spring.

Monday morning, flood warnings were issues for Cannonball River at Breien affecting Morton and Sioux counties.

Despite low levels of snow pack throughout the state, some major rivers are at or reaching flood levels, going up by several feet. And there could be more on the way.

Some would say it's finally dog walking weather. The sun is out and the snow is melting away, draining into street drains and rivers. The latter has hydrologists anxious.

"Last fall when we had all that rain and snow in September, October, and going into November, that really wetted up our soils. To where most of North Dakota's soils were at the 99th percentile; very wet for that time of year,” NWS Hydrologist Allen Schlag said.

In addition to runoff, parts of the river are fighting ice blocks, which can raise river levels several feet in one day. That's what much of Western North Dakota is experiencing.

"So we'll see it flirt with flood stage, and then rapidly fall four or five feet over just a couple of hours. So this is kind of the pattern we're in in Western North Dakota and it's going to continue through the week,” Schlag.

Luckily, the amount of land run off isn't enough to cause major issues. It's simply a waiting game for the ice to melt and for the soil to thaw.

Something to keep your eye on is Montana. They have a lot of snow and rain run off making its way through their state, and will be making its way into ours.