- Associated Press - Monday, January 30, 2017

MINOT, N.D. (AP) - The National Weather Service’s first flood outlook of the season says the risk of spring flooding in the Souris River Valley is higher than normal, especially downstream of Minot.

More snow and rain could increase the flooding risks, but the chance of flooding lessens if current weather continues, the Minot Daily News (http://bit.ly/2kiSUZf ) reported.

“All forecast sites in the Souris River Basin of North Dakota are well above normal for flood risk,” the outlook said.

Allen Schlag is a hydrologist for the weather service in Bismarck. He said the outlook numbers are high for this time of year but notes he’s seen higher numbers in past years.

Schlag said potentially problematic areas for Minot are in the lower reaches of the Souris River, home to the heaviest snowpack.

“There could be some pretty high water at Velva, Towner, Bantry and into Westhope,”Schlag said.

Conditions of the ground will also affect how much snowmelt will run off into various watersheds. Snowmelt frequently goes over a drainage of frozen ground but a majority of the snowmelt can seep into ground if it is free of frost.

“A fair number of rapid melts in history have produced major flooding,” said Schlag. “Timing is going to be crucial along the Souris. Rain this year would produce a lot of heartaches.”

The outlook estimated a 50 percent chance of the river rising to 1,550.2 feet. Flood stage for the city is 1,551 feet.

The next outlook, which will be most important as the runoff season approaches for the Souris River Basin, will be released Feb. 16.

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Information from: Minot Daily News, http://www.minotdailynews.com

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