March 18th, 2010
10:52 AM ET

Warm weather may cause troubles for Red River

A large area of high pressure will bring near-record high temperatures to the Dakotas today and Friday. The warm temperatures are expected to rapidly melt up to 6 inches of snow across the Red River Basin. This is equivalent to receiving 6 inches of rain across the entire Red River Basin in a day.

All of the water from this melting snow will run into the river and will cause the water level to rapidly rise an additional 6 to 8 feet by Sunday, coming close to the record flood stage of 40.8 feet set at Fargo last year. Are you there? Share photos, video of flood

The silver lining will come in the form of a strong cold front and little or no precipitation over the next week.

Temperatures will plunge below freezing on Saturday evening as a strong cold front dives southward out of Canada across the northern and central Plains. This will significantly slow the snow melt into early next week. As the melting snow decreases, the river will begin to recede.

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Filed under: U.S. • Weather
soundoff (13 Responses)
  1. Ram Narayanan

    Why are taxpayer's dollars being continually spent each year to shore up Fargo's flood defenses? Why cannot Fargoans move elsewhere far away from the Red River?

    March 18, 2010 at 11:25 am | Report abuse |
  2. BigDady28

    They need to build the houses higher up so they dont get affected as much.™

    March 18, 2010 at 11:34 am | Report abuse |
  3. Dave

    Every year Fargo floods; every year FEMA and our taxpayer dollars has to bail out the good citizens of that city and North Dakota. When is this going to stop? If you live in Fargo and you don't have the good sense to move live with the floods and take care of it yourself! I am tired of my tax dollars from my state fixing your problem every year (or at least every 2-3 years). As they say in sports – Always change a losing game. Living in Fargo is a losing game.

    March 18, 2010 at 11:51 am | Report abuse |
  4. Michael Toomey

    The reporting in this article should be questioned. These are not the facts we're getting in Fargo. And CNN, please tell your reporters to stay off the dikes this year.

    March 18, 2010 at 11:51 am | Report abuse |
  5. Fargo Resident

    This is totally ridiculous. The temps have been figured into the flood predictions (37-39 feet crest. Likely 38). Although this headline makes it seem like we're going to hit near 41, the predicted crest is below this.

    And, no, 6 inches of melted snow does NOT equal 6 inches of rain. Snow is largely air (even the wet snow we got this winter is NOWHERE near the amount of water you get with 6 inches of rain). Please stop the sensationalism.

    March 18, 2010 at 12:20 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Jeff in MN

    This is a terrible mess and, at a human level, I feel for what these people are going through. However, the Fargo area is heavily conservative. Therefore, I assume they dislike government and strongly believe that each person should fend for themselves. In that case, they will definately not want a socialist, government-run organization like the National Guard interfering in their lives and would also not like any help sandbagging as that would be construed as welfare. Oh, of course this is different because they didn't bring this upon themselves, even though they chose to continue living there after being flooded year after year.

    I guess socialism and welfare are acceptable after all, so long as it benefits you and others have to pay for it, right? No government-run healthcare, though! Maybe we should privatize the national guard too and see who in Fargo can afford to pay for it.

    I wish them all well. I just think that if they are going to deny programs and aid to others, they should not expect it when they need it.

    March 18, 2010 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Chad

    I hope it all goes well for everyon. However, I am flat out amazed that the words "global warming" did not appear in this story.

    March 18, 2010 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Deb

    I live in Fargo, North Dakota. This story almost gave me a heart attack. I certainly hope 6 inches of snow does not contain 6 inches of water. If, however, the river rises an additional 6 to 8 feet by Sunday, that would be 3 feet over the highest predicted crest. Please send boats.

    March 18, 2010 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Doug Peterson

    CNN-I live 35 miles from the red river of the north.have lived here 40 years.there are some issues with the flood.But where does 6" of snow equal 6" of rain?Your news head line are some what false. Doug

    March 18, 2010 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse |
  10. kensie

    i find it funny that local news here in fargo is very relaxed and confident with the flood fight this year. however, at the same time, major news like cnn, have made it look like its all chaos here. its actually supposed to get colder this weekend. and. 6 inches of snow does NOT mean 6 inches of rain. in fact thats already been added to the forecast of 38 feet. seriously, its like any normal day in fargo right now and theres no reason for the media to make it look like we are going through what we did last year.

    March 18, 2010 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse |
  11. steve

    Who are they kidding? 12 inches of snow is equal to 1 inch of rain.

    March 18, 2010 at 2:03 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Richard Smith

    Thanks for the information regarding the flooding, but I believe your numbers may be off just a bit. According to the University of Saint Louis, on average, 13" of snow will equal 1" of rain. This can change depending on the density of the snow pack, but you'll never see a true 1:1 ratio in regards of snow vs. rain.

    March 18, 2010 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Steve Spicer


    Two of your statements are just wrong:

    "The warm temperatures are expected to rapidly melt up to 6 inches of snow across the Red River Basin. This is equivalent to receiving 6 inches of rain across the entire Red River Basin in a day."

    There is no way that six inches of snow is equivalent to six inches of rain.

    "All of the water from this melting snow will run into the river"

    Some of the water will seep into the ground, some may evaporate and some will be lost in other ways before it reaches the river.

    Your statements are not only misleading, they are false.

    March 18, 2010 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |