The Fargo area is now experiencing the worst flooding ever recorded.
The latest river stage now stands at 40.78′ (9:15 p.m. CDT, Friday)…and it’s still rising. The record was 40.1′ set back in 1897. Now the question is…how high will it go? Forecasters are saying it could crest as high as 43′. A scary thought, considering that, according to officials, Fargo’s main dike protects the city to 43′.
The Red River at East Grand Forks is on track to crest close to an all-time record flood stage as well…although it’s (right now) looking like it will come up a bit short, probably some relief for weary residents. The stage was 48.14′ (9:30 p.m. CDT Friday) and it’s forecasted to crest around 52′. The record stage is 54.4′ in 1997.
If you’re curious if that means there’s a wall of water close to 42′ in Fargo…not quite. Read this for the AP wire:
CHANHASSEN, Minn. (AP) — A Red River crest of 43 feet at Fargo, N.D., doesn’t mean the river will be 43 feet deep.
And dikes built to protect the city to 43 feet aren’t 43 feet high.
The numbers hydrologists use to measure river levels and flood stages and to predict crest levels are just reference points. Diane Cooper, a National Weather Service hydrologist, says they often put the zero point below the river bed.
So when officials say Fargo’s dikes are good to 43 feet, it just means they’re at the same height the river would be when it reaches the 43-foot mark at the gauge in Fargo.
Cooper also says you can’t compare the numbers from one river gauge to another. For example, the Red River was measured at 41 feet in Fargo on Friday afternoon and 48 feet downstream in Grand Forks. That doesn’t mean the water’s deeper in Grand Forks.
We’ll be continuing to follow this…
Posted under Natural Disaster
This post was written by Steph on March 27, 2009