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The forecast indicates a modest probability of flooding



Bismarck, North Dakota – Although North Dakota may still have snow on the ground, early flood prediction is still taking place. The National Weather Service on Thursday issued an early statewide outlook.

“How soon does that snow melt, does it go into the ground or run off?” said National Weather Service hydrologist Allen Schlag.

The good news is that moisture should seep directly into the soil. Most of the state’s soils, according to hydrologists, are warm and dry. They are therefore prepared to absorb any melting snow.

“We’re expecting that a lot of that melt water that is generated is going to disappear into the ground, under most normal melt scenarios. So that is going to really taper our expectations going forward with regard to flood risk,” said Schlag.

The Bismarck area has already gotten 52 inches of snow; typically, the area receives 51 inches of snow on average over the winter. Stormy weather took a break in January and February, but the end of winter is expected to bring changes.

“Going into the late winter, early spring, it looks like we have an uptick for more stormy weather to resume,” said meteorologist Kevin Lawrence.

Flooding is not a major concern right now, but that might change depending on how quickly the snow that has already fallen melts and how much precipitation the state gets over the remaining winter months. Outlooks could alter if the ground freezes and all the snow melts.

“But the snow we had in November really helped us, it insulated the ground and now a slow snow melt is ideal, and the chance for flooding in spring, granted if we don’t have a major, major situation in the spring, we are looking really good,” said Lawrence.

According to forecasters, temperatures could remain below average for the following 90 days.

On February 23, the following flood outlook will be released.