Thursday, March 21, 2013

Top 5 Flood in Fargo This Spring

"Top 5 Flood For Fargo This Spring"
By Todd Nelson

According to the National Weather Service, Fargo, ND should expect a "Top 5" flood this Spring. Experts believe that the crest in Fargo, which has a 50% chance of reaching 38ft., could be around the latest crest date on record of April 19th.

Latest 'SWE' analysis or Snow Water Equivalent, shows that there is still nearly 6" to 8" of water locked in the snow around and just south of the Fargo/Moorhead region. The threat for this deep snow pack of nearly 1ft. to 2ft. to melt rapidly increases with each day as we near April.

Ol' Man Winter still has a tight grip on the eastern half of the country as temperatures as of late have been running nearly 15F to 30F below average! Snowfall reports of nearly 2ft. came in from the U.P. of Michigan with this latest lake effect snow event. The town of Grand Marais, MI saw nearly 16" over the past few days and reported nearly 5ft. of snow on the ground AM Wednesday!

Yes, the landscape is drastically different this year. We'll muddle through a more winter-like chill through the weekend. Good news, the next storm will sail south of us; shovelable snow will be found from Denver to D.C. this weekend.

Think Spring!

Todd's CONSERVATION MN Outlook for the Twin Cities and all of Minnesota:

THURSDAY NIGHT: Mostly clear, cold and quiet. Low: 9. Winds: Light

FRIDAY: Sunny start, hazy sun by the afternoon/evening. Light snow/flurries possible in western late. High: 
30. Winds: West 5

FRIDAY NIGHT: Clouds thicken, not as cold. Low: 20.

SATURDAY: Sun/cloud mix, nothing rough. High: 33.

SUNDAY:  Storm sails south of us. Light snow/flurries possible for us. Low: 21. High: 34.

MONDAY: Lingering flurry potential. Low:  20. High: 35.

TUESDAY: Sun plays peek-a-boo. Low: 21. High: 35.

WEDNESDAY: A touch more sun, slightly warmer.. Low: 19. High: 36.

THURSDAY: Think Spring! Low: 23. High: 38.

It's a little hard to golf when it's as cold as snowy as has been, don't you think? At this time last year, there were several golf courses across the far north that were already open or were planning on opening very soon! Thanks to @T_Swaggerstein for the picture below out of Fenton, MI... It appears they've found away to cope with the winter hangover.

Messy Northeast This Week
The Northeast had another snow event this week, with several locations in the Northern New England States needing shovels and plows to dig out. Tuesday's snow in Boston was enough to slow air travel and the Boston Logan International Airport. Thanks to their Facebook for the picture below; it almost looks like the plane is going to land on the snow removal equipment.

Cold and Snowy in the Northeast
The 3 day snowfall analysis looks pretty impressive from the Northeast to the Great Lakes doesn't it? There are some locations that have seen over 2ft. of fresh snow in the Great Lakes over the last 3 days! Interestingly, we typically don't see much lake effect snow at this time of the year. The lack of extreme cold at this time of the year generally keeps lake effect snow threats at a minimum, so to some degree this is a bit unusual. You see these types of heavy lake effect snow more so in December and January.

Great Lakes Snow
Snow really picked up here during the second half of the winter season. Note how much snow we've seen this season in the graphic below, but keep in mind that a bulk of the snow came in since February 1st!

Seasonal Snow From Normal
Prior to February 1st, several locations were dealing with HUGE snowfall deficits. Now, other than a few locations, we've really put a dent in those snow deficits that were very common across the region.

Winter Wonderland in Marquette, MI
If you love snow, you can still find quite a bit of it along the south shore of Lake Superior. The image below was from midday Thursday at Northern Michigan University. The official snow tally in Marquette this season is 177" (43.2" of that this month). Interestingly, prior to February, Marquette was running a huge snow deficit due to the lack of extreme cold and lake effect snow events. They have nearly caught up now and as of the 20th, they were only -0.2" below normal snowfall for the season.

Even More Snow
The National Weather Service out of Marquette, MI tweeted earlier Thursday... They said that Grand Marais, MI had seen 15.7" recently and the snow depth at that location was 62" !! That's a little over 5ft. of snow on the ground!

2013: U.S. Snow Cover
Take a look at how much of the nation is still covered in snow... As of Thursday, 25.6% of the nation had snow cover with an average snow depth of 4.9".

2012 U.S. Snow Cover
The landscape looks dramatically different this year across the northern tier of the nation and especially from the High Plains to the Northeast. Last year, there was literally no snow across a good chunk of the region that has snow this year.

MN Snow Depth

The Thursday snow depth map from northern MN, WI and the U.P. of MI showed several inches of snow still on the ground. This is good news for those who like to play in the snow, but for those who live in the potential spring flooding areas, this is a bit concerning.

Snowy March So Far...
The first 20 days of the month of March have been quite snowy for a number of locations. Over 1ft amounts are pretty common, but locations near Lake Superior have seen nearly 2ft.+ !! We've definitely been making up for lost time.

SWE is considered to be Snow Water Equivalent... I've been talking about this a bit over the last couple of weeks. This product is very helpful for hydrologists that have to 'measure' the potential of flooding during the Spring season. Unfortunately, we still have A LOT of water locked in the snow (i.e. if you were to melt an 8" snow core in any specific area, you'd get that much liquid water equivalent when melted down.) If you were to take, just an 8" snow core in the areas around and just south of Fargo, MN - you'd find nearly 6" to 8" of water in there. Image if that entire area of snow melted rapidly... That would be massive quantities of water and that is the concern right now!

NOAA's Spring Flood Outlook
As we approach the warmer season, spring flooding potential will be on the minds of many as all that winter snow melts. NOAA released it's spring flooding outlook on Thursday and said that Fargo, ND has the potential to see a "Top 5 Flood" this Spring...

"National Weather Service says to expect a "Top 5" flood. 95% of major flooding in Fargo, 50% of hitting 38ft."

Another good source of information regarding the flooding in the Red River Valley near Fargo is the Valley Flood Watch Facebook Page... They will have frequent updates over the next several weeks.

"NOAA issued the three-month U.S. Spring Outlook today, stating that odds favor above-average temperatures across much of the continental United States, including drought-stricken areas of Texas, the Southwest and the Great Plains. Spring promises little drought relief for most of these areas, as well as Florida, with below- average spring precipitation favored there. Meanwhile, river flooding is likely to be worse than last year across the country, with the most significant flood potential in North Dakota."

Read more HERE:

Remembering 2012
Last year on March 21st, Lake Minnetonka was considered to be ice free! That was the 3rd earliest on record! Lake Minnetonka's earliest ice out was March 11, 1878; Latest May 8, 1856; Avg. ice out April 13th.

2012 Lake Minnetonka Ice Out - March, 21st

2012 Ice Outs
March was an exceptionally warm month for many in the eastern part of the country. According to, there were nearly 14,000 heat records across the nation and several of those fell in Minnesota. The extreme warmth helped to the the winter snow and ice very quickly. Several Minnesota lakes were ice free by the end of March, several of those had the earliest ice out dates in recorded history.

See more from MN DNR HERE:

Average MN Ice Out Dates
Here are the average ice out dates for Minnesota lakes...

Snow Potential Thru Monday
The next storm to take shape across the country will bring heavier snow potential from Denver to D.C. through Monday of next week. Some spots could see 6"+

Severe Threat This Weekend
The Storm Prediction Center has issued a SLIGHT RISK of severe weather for a number of locations along the Gulf Coast for Saturday. Thunderstorm could be strong to severe in these areas with hail, high winds and isolated tornadoes. Stay tuned for more.

5 Day Precipitation Forecast
NOAA's HPC 5 day precipitation forecast shows the storm rolling across the Plains over the next few days with heavier precipitation developing with convective showers across the Southeast.

Weather Brewery?
Just found out about this new brewery called "Bad Weather Brewery" based in Minnesota - right up my alley! I missed the release party launch party Thursday evening, but from what I hear, they have some good stuff to offer!

See more from HERE:

Thanks for checking in, have a good weekend ahead!
Don't forget to follow me on Twitter @TNelsonWNTV

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