Published March 9, 2023

Spring Flood Outlook for Souris River 

Written by
Kim Fundingsland
| The Dakotan

No Major Flooding Expected 

BISMARCK – The National Weather Service issued their latest Spring Flood and Water Resources Outlook for the Souris River basin Thursday. It remains much the same as the March 9 outlook which raised no undue concerns in the basin. 

The purpose of the early outlooks, says the NWS, is to “refine and define the overall risk of flooding associated with the annual spring melt season.” It concludes the expected flood risk in the Souris River basin can be split into two distinct areas. 

The first area, from where the Souris enters North Dakota from Canada, down through Minot, and on to Velva, is rated as a “slightly below to near normal” risk of flooding this year. The Des Lacs River watershed is included in that summation. 

From Velva downstream to Westhope, says the NWS, “the snowpack and snow water equivalent are above normal.” The risk of flooding in that stretch of the river basin is considered “near normal to slightly greater than normal.” The outlook includes the Wintering River and Willow Creek watersheds. 

The NWS emphasizes that warm and dry soils are expected to absorb “much larger” amounts than normal of meltwater and spring rains. Furthermore, reads the outlook, the headwaters area of the Souris River in Saskatchewan is “below to near normal in snow water equivalent” and that “Lake Darling above Minot along with the Canadian reservoirs behind Grant Devine and Rafferty Dams have normal to somewhat below normal water levels for this time of year.” 

March is generally considered the month in which snowmelt gets underway as temperatures warm. The average temperature for Minot on March 1 is in the upper 20s but increases to the upper 40s by the end of the month. 

The next Flood Potential Outlook for the Souris River basin will be issued March 23. 

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