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Bad News In Latest Spring Flooding Forecast

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(credit: CBS) Bill Hudson
Bill Hudson has been with WCCO-TV since 1989. The native of Elk Rive...
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By Bill Hudson, WCCO-TV

ST. PAUL (WCCO) — After our week of melting, the chances Minnesota will be seeing major flooding this spring is growing greater. The National Weather Service put out a new flood forecast Thursday that increases the odds on all major river systems.

That forecast bumps the odds of major flooding on the Red River in the Fargo-Moorhead area up to 70 percent. On the upper Minnesota River near Montevideo, it increases to a 90 percent chance of flooding.

The news is just as dire for the Twin Cities region. On the Mississippi River at St. Paul, there is a 95 to 98 percent chance of major flooding. On the St. Croix River in Stillwater, the flooding prospects are up to 75 percent.

We thought we might catch a break because of this week’s early melt, but apparently there’s just too much moisture in the river basins. So, instead of our gradual thaw improving the flood outlook, it’s getting worse.

If Red River Valley residents have any doubts about their need to fill three-million sandbags in anticipation of another flood fight, those thoughts vanished with the latest report.

According to the NWS, the current thaw hasn’t impacted the latest forecast.

“I wish I could tell you that has lessened the threat of flooding, but it hasn’t changed a thing,” said Dan Luna with the NWS.

Computer modeling by the NWS predicts major flooding in the Fargo-Moorhead area for the third straight spring. And while the region has lost some snow pack this week, the water content is hanging around.

“While the snow packs have decreased in size, that water still remains on top of the ground, in ditches or just below the snow,” explained Luna.

In fact, no river basin is going to be immune from flooding. It’s a prediction that’s prompting Minnesota’s Homeland Security Emergency Management director Kris Eide to urge everyone to begin making plans.

“If they know they’ll be evacuated when we hit certain river levels, they need to ask where will they go, and how will they communicate with families so they can protect their property?” said Eide.

Adding to concerns is a long-term forecast calling for lower temperatures and above average precipitation in the coming weeks. That’s putting the entire state on a collision course for flooding that we can’t avoid.

“Highly unlikely. Those chances are there, but it’s very small,” Luna said.

Experts say now is the time for homeowners and businesses to consider purchasing flood insurance to protect their valuables. However, since there is a 30-day waiting period before the insurance goes into effect, that time window is quickly closing.

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