Red River Flooding

April 13, 2001


Provided by: GLOBE at Night
Summary authors & editors: Jim Foster

The photo above, taken on April 10, shows flooding along the Red River of the North, near Fargo, North Dakota. It must be an awful feeling to have to surround your home with sand bags and hope that the river doesn't continue to rise. The Red River of the North is prone to flooding in the spring, especially during snowmelt. The floodplain is extremely flat, and when the river overflows its banks, the flood-waters can spread out for miles. Rainfall coinciding with melting snow is a sure recipe for flooding along the Red River of the North. Also, because the river flows from south to north, the downstream (more northern sections) of the river may still be frozen when floodwaters move north. As a result, the frozen river acts as an ice dam, and the flood-waters spread out even further. The flooding this year is the worst since the terrible floods of 1997, which were the worst ever recorded in the Red River valley.

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