Published February 23, 2023

Souris River Flood Potential Outlook 

Written by
Kim Fundingsland
| The Dakotan

Issued by NWS Bismarck

BISMARCK -- The latest Flood Potential Outlook for the Souris River Basin does not contain any significant prospect of a high runoff season. The National Weather Service issued the outlook Thursday, February 23. It covers the period through May 28. 

The NWS states, “The flood risks within the Souris River Basin of North Dakota have essentially remained the same since the February 9th issuance of probabilities.” 

The Feb. 9 outlook contained no indication of significant flood risk this spring. 

According to the NWS, from where the Souris enters North Dakota near Sherwood, through Minot and down to Velva, “flood risks are slightly below to near normal this year.” The outlook includes the Des Lacs River watershed. 

Downstream of Velva, through Towner and up to Westhope, the current snowpack and snow water equivalent are above normal which leads the NWS to suggest the area is at “near normal to slightly greater than normal risk of flooding.” The outlook includes the Wintering River and Willow Creek. The NWS cautions that ice jams remain a “significant risk” to produce flood conditions. 

Reservoirs and Natural Wetlands 

Included in the outlook is that status of reservoirs and natural wetlands throughout the drainage. The NWS states: “Lake Darling above Minot, along with the Canadian reservoirs behind Grant Devine and Rafferty Dam have near normal to somewhat below normal water levels for this time of year. The same can be said for most wetlands and natural bodies of water as the drier than normal latter half of summer and early fall took a toll on water levels in 2022.” 

The NWS adds that “exceptionally dry and warmer than normal soils” are underneath snowpack in the basin, which is expected to “allow infiltration of a much larger than normal fraction of meltwater” during the spring melt season. 

The next Flood Potential Outlook will be issued on March 9. 

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