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Flood Outlook more dry than wet, drought conditions throughout Souris River Basin

Flood risk approaches zero

It is nearly a re-run of a few weeks ago. The risk of flooding this spring along the Souris River Basin is so minimal that the greater concern at present is of a continuation, even worsening, of drought conditions.

The National Weather Service issued its latest Flood and Water Resources Outlook for the Souris River at mid-day Thursday. Once again it lists the probability of even minor flooding this spring at all points on the Souris River and its tributaries at less than five-percent. Not even recent snowfall had an impact on the outlook.

“Even though the Souris River Basin recently received a modest amount of snow, the generally less than one-quarter of an inch of water in the snow received over the past week does not materially raise the spring flood risk,” concludes the Outlook.

It adds that “the greater threat to the region should now be considered a continuation of the 2020’s drought into the 2021 growing season” and that March and April rainfall “less than normal would likely exacerbate the current drought.”

Snowpack throughout the Souris River Basin continues to be much below normal for this time of year, generally containing about one-half inch of moisture in certain locales and far short of the three to six inches of snow-water equivalent present during years of high runoff. In addition, says the Outlook, “Soils underlying this nominal snowpack are generally dry to very dry” and will provide “significant porosity which will minimize runoff from snowmelt and spring rains.”

The Flood Outlooks are compiled using 30 or more years of climatological data that includes current conditions of the river, soil moisture, snow cover and long-range forecasts. The next outlook will be issued March 11.

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