Flood Status Report
Red River Basin Commission
Latest Update: April 12, 2011
The following reports are from community leaders in the Red River Basin and have been compiled over
the last couple of days. Further updates will be weekly.
Please note flooding conditions are changing rapidly and may require additional updates.
Received responses for April 12 update:
U.S. Portion of Basin: Canadian Portion of Basin:
National Weather Service-April 11, 2011 Update Manitoba Press Releases—Winnipeg Free Press
April 10, 2011 Flood Investigation—North Dakota State Information from the Manitoba Flood Bulletin #9—April
Water Commission 11, 2011
Army Corp of Engineers Press Releases from 4/10 & 4/11
Red River Basin Media Talking Points for April 11, 2011—National Weather Service
Weekend Rainfall Summary:
Light rain or mist affected much of the Red River Basin from Saturday evening into early Sunday morning. From mid-morning into midday
Sunday a band of thunderstorms set up along a line from Aberdeen SD, through Fargo ND, to International Falls MN. This band produced
scattered areas of from one-quarter to one half inch of rain along and east ward of that initial line. Isolated storms produced pea sized to
penny sized hail from Wyndmere ND (Richland County) into Lake George MN (Hubbard County).
Widespread rain also occurred to the west of the thunderstorm band, across most of the remainder of the Red River Basin. 24 hour precipi-
tation totals, between 7am CDT Sunday and 7am CDT Monday, ranged from one-quarter to one-half inch north and west of a line from Val-
ley City ND, through Grand Forks ND, to Warroad MN – encompassing the far northern Red River Basin and Devils Lake Basin.
South of Grand Forks, along the Red River and into eastern North Dakota, total rainfall amounts range from one-half to three-quarters of an
inch, with isolated areas approaching one inch. Heaviest rainfall amounts there have affected flood impacted portions of the Maple and
Sheyenne River Basins in southeast ND (southwest through north of Fargo).
Heaviest rainfall occurred eastward from Grand Forks and Fargo, with rainfall amounts ranging from three-quarters of an inch to one and
one half inches. Patchy areas received two inches of rain due to the combination of early thunderstorms and protracted stratiform rainfall.
This has mainly impacted the Buffalo, MN Wild Rice, Red Lake, and Snake River systems of northwest Minnesota, which flow into the Red
River at various points north of Fargo-Moorhead.
Red River Basin Media Talking Points for April 11, 2011—National Weather Service cont.
Mainly dry conditions are expected for the Red River Basin through the coming work week. A weak frontal system will pass through the
area on Tuesday, with a brief period of very light rain or sprinkles possible.
Along the Red River:
The Red River at Fargo-Moorhead reached a preliminary crest of 38.75 feet on Saturday evening, at 6:15 PM CDT. Since then, the Red River
has dropped sufficiently in Fargo so that runoff from the current rainfall is not expected to push the river back to this crest level, and will act
instead to prolong the period of high water. The Red at Fargo-Moorhead is expected to stay above a major flood level of 30 feet for two
weeks or more.
Record flooding is occurring north from Fargo and Moorhead. Portions of northeastern Cass County (ND) and northwestern Clay County
(MN) are experiencing the highest flood levels ever seen. Record flows were recorded by the USGS on the Sheyenne River near Harwood
ND on Sunday morning, the result of merging flows from the lower Sheyenne, the Maple and the Rush Rivers. These record flows are then
merging with the Red River north of Fargo and causing additional backwater levels along the Buffalo River (MN) north of Moorhead, near
Georgetown. Harwood ND and Georgetown MN are experiencing worse breakout flooding than in 2009 or 1997 floods of record. Video
shows the flow across I-29 north of Harwood, between mileposts 76 and 79. The interstate is officially closed from exit 69 to exit 100 as of
6pm CDT Sunday evening.
Areas along the Red River northward from Fargo-Moorhead into Perley, Halstad, Grand Forks, Oslo, Drayton and Pembina are all seeing in-
creased breakout flows and rural flooding as the river exceeds moderate and major flood stages. Numerous county and state roads are
closed throughout the basin. Rainfall from this weekend along with record flows already coming into the Red River from the Sheyenne
River will likely increase flows throughout these areas.
Near record flows are expected into Halstad from late Tuesday into Wednesday. Hendrum will now see near record levels due to increas-
ing flows from the MN Wild Rice and backwater from the Red River. Red River bridges at Nielsville and Climax are now underwater and are
closed. The new Thompson Bridge remained opened today and may be able to remain opened through the event since its new bridge deck
is considerably higher than the old.
At Grand Forks and East Grand Forks:
A second flood crest is now forecast along the Red Lake River into Crookston and East Grand Forks, later this week. Crests along the Red
Lake River and Red River are expected to come into Grand Forks and East Grand Forks nearly simultaneously, from late Wednesday into
Thursday, with flows just under the record flows of 1997, and resulting in a possible rise to around 52 feet. The record 1997 level was 54.34
feet. Grand Forks and East Grand Forks are now protected with permanent flood protection levees to 60 feet. The Point Bridge and down-
town Sorlie Bridge in Grand Forks have both closed due to high water affecting the approaches to those bridges. The third bridge in Grand
Forks, the Kennedy Bridge could be impacted by river levels above 52 feet.
Along the Sheyenne River:
The upper Sheyenne River basin is seeing record flows above Cooperstown, with increasing flows being reported into Lake Ashtabula Reser-
voir above Valley City. The middle Sheyenne system is seeing steadily increasing flows from Valley City into Lisbon as local runoff is combin-
ing with releases from Baldhill Dam. Crests from Valley City into Lisbon are projected throughout this week, with little or no ice problems
Clausen Springs Dam, located on Spring Creek upstream of Kathyrn ND, is being watched closely by state and local officials as high flows are
beginning to impact the recently repaired structure. A Flash Flood Watch has been posted for the Spring Creek area from the Dam, through
Kathyrn, to the confluence with the Sheyenne River southeast of Kathyrn. This Watch is currently in effect through Tuesday.
Along the Sheyenne River downstream from Lisbon, the area from Kindred into Horace and West Fargo will see increasing breakout flow
and overland flows through the coming week. These increased flows should be moving into the Harwood area late in the week after the
initial peak flows from the Maple and Rush Rivers have passed that area.
Along the Pembina River:
Remaining snowpack is spotty and largely confined to upland areas of far northeast North Dakota. This would include the upper reaches of
the Pembina River and portions of the upper Devils Lake Basin. This remaining snowpack should be melting into the system early in the
Flows are increasing along the Pembina River at Walhalla and Neche. Breakout flooding was occurring near Neche early today due to ice
and log jams along the river. Higher flows are still expected to come into the Pembina River system from Windygates, Manitoba, through
the coming week. Peak flows along the Pembina River are expected to come into the community of Pembina near the time of peak levels
on the Red River nearly two weeks from now.
For the latest point-specific hydrograph and accompanying text products, check: http://www.crh.noaa.gov/fgf/briefing/floodbriefing.php
Information provided by the North Dakota State Water Commission
April 10, 2011 Flood Investigation:
The following is a summary of a flood investigation made on April 10:
Concentrated on area upstream of Fordville
Dams on some of the branches are controlling flow
Reservoirs have not filled much – a lot of storage available
Outlet channels flowing about ¾ full of primary channel
Snow gone from open areas and most of shelterbelts
Little to no runoff remains from fields and local ditches
Some snow remains in trees within North Branch
Some flow in larger tributaries
Full channel flow just north of Adams
Appears to have been higher, maybe when ice in place
This area has more snow in treed area and on hill sides
Little local runoff still ongoing for the south tributary of the south branch
North tributary of the South Branch had higher flows
A little beyond full bank
Still some runoff in local ditches
Low flow in the area between Adams and Milton
Had been higher
Still snow along river banks
Full bank (primary) flow
Appears to have been higher
Mountain area (steep ridge and flat area downstream)
Flow in creeks contained to small channel (maybe 10 foot top width)
Little flow in creek located immediately south of Mountain
Little snow remains
Local runoff nearly completed couple miles west of I-29
No ice in channel
No snow in open fields
Drainage area upstream of Mountain (above ridge)
Still snow in coulees
Flow has gone under snow
Little flow currently exists
Still snow in tree lines
Started from a western point at the Canadian stream gage located a few miles west of Pilot Knob, with the gage described as
downstream of Cypress Creek.
Pembina River downstream of Cypress Creek
Flow still within primary channel
More than ¾ of open fields are still snow covered
Local runoff is just starting
Cypress Creek (about 5 miles further south) is just opening up
Ice and snow blockage in that area
Channel is a little beyond full bank
The fields are covered with snow (maybe even more so) proceeding south across the border
There are 2 lakes on the Pembina River downstream of this point
At least one of the lakes is very large
Likely the flood hydrograph would have the peak flattened out and delayed as a result of routing
through the lake
North Dakota cont.
Information provided by North Dakota State Water Commission
April 10, 2011 Flood Investigation cont.:
Between Pilot Knob and La Riviere
Snow cover reduces from west to east
4 miles west of La Riviere has about 50% snow cover
Local runoff ongoing
Local channels flowing full
Little snow in open fields at La Riviere
A lot of snow on hills sides, especially those facing north or east
Pembina River flowing within channel
Ice cover on the Pembina River at HW crossing
Believe there is a small channel wier just downstream that would ice cover
Level was well within channel banks
Tributary on east side of La Riviere flowing full bank, with higher velocities
Appeared that stream gage may be located on this channel
La Riviere to border near Langdon
Snow cover continues to be less proceeding downstream
No snow in most open areas
Snow in tall grass, tree lines, and ditches
North facing hills of Pembina gorge still has snow
Bare areas in some of south facing hills
Much of runoff from individual fields is completed
Some flow in local ditches
Higher flow in coulees
Two of the higher flowing coulees were flowing about ¾ to full flow on larger culvert (roughly 72”)
Pembina River Crossing north of border crossing near Langdon
Snow conditions described in above item
River flowing with near full primary bank
Most ground covered with snow near Sarles
Reduces going east
Maybe 25 % of open fields near Hanna
Maybe less than 10% in open fields near Langdon
Rain had occurred today
Roads very muddy
Breakout to the north a few miles west of Neche
Filling in land behind road located ½ mile south of border
May be slight breakout that is able to flow to crossing #5 (very limited flow)
Breakout to south a few miles south of Neche
On shoulder of Pembina County Road #55
Flow to east through culverts
Some flow through culverts on HW #18 just south of Neche
Ice jam upstream of HW #18 bridge at Neche
Ice in channel from HW #18 to beyond the Pembina County Road #55 crossing downstream
Some is jammed up
Army Corps of Engineers increases outflows today at White Rock Dam near Wheaton, Minn.
April 10, 2011
ST. PAUL, MINN. - The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District, began increasing outflows from the Corps' White Rock Dam at
noon today. White Rock Dam is part of the Corps' Lake Traverse project, near Wheaton, Minn.
Increasing the outflows will continue until noon on April 11 when outflows will be at the maximum of 6,000 cubic feet per second.
The Corps' operating plan dictates the White Rock Dam gates be open when the pool reaches elevation 981.0 feet. Based on the cur-
rent rate rise of the pool, this would be achieved some time tonight.
Gates at the dam were scheduled to be opened at noon today, followed by increases at 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. today. Final dam gate
movements will be done tomorrow morning.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District, serves the American public in the areas of environmental enhancement, naviga-
tion, flood damage reduction, water and wetlands regulation, recreation sites and disaster response. It contributes around $175 mil-
lion to the five-state district economy. The 700 employees work at more than 40 sites in five upper-Midwest states. For more infor-
mation, see www.mvp.usace.army.mil.
MB Flood Update
Redwood ice jam breaks, Red drops a foot: By: Bartley Kives Winnipeg Free Press
April 8, 2011
The Red River in Winnipeg dropped more than one foot overnight, as the ice jam at the Redwood Bridge apparently eased off. As
of 7 a.m., the Red in Winnipeg sat at 19.7 feet above normal winter ice level at the James Avenue monitoring station.
That's down from an ice jam-induced high of 20.8 feet on Thursday evening. On Thursday, city flood-protection engineer Grant
Mohr surmised the Red would drop up to 1.5 feet after the ice jam moved off. Yesterday's spike allowed the flood of 2011 to be-
come the third-highest of the post-floodway era in Winnipeg, as the Red exceeded the 20.4 feet James mark set at the crest of the
2006 spring flood. Only 1997 and 2009 had higher crests, at 24.5 feet James and 22.6 feet James, respectively.
One home inundated by Red River north of Selkirk: Winnipeg Free Press By: Bartley Kives
April 8, 2011
One home has been inundated by the Red River north of Selkirk due to ice jam-induced flooding. Ice jams in the Breezy Point area
led river levels to exceed banks overnight, said Darcy Hardman, emergency measures co-ordinator for the Rural Municipality of St.
Andrews. One home was lost just south of McIvor Lane at about 6 a.m. this morning, Hardman said. At about 10 p.m. last night,
rising water levels led crews to employ tiger dams -- water-filled tubes -- and pumps in an attempt to save the property. At about 4
a.m., they believed they had won the fight. "We had it looking pretty good," said Hardman. "But then we had another surge of
Another property on the east of the Red River, in the R.M. of St. Clements, is also being threatened. The Red River is also flooding
over Provincial Road 320, which makes travel to Breezy Point possible but not advisable, Hardman said. The Breezy Point area was
hardest hit by ice jam-induced severe flooding in 2009.
Province of Manitoba Flood Bulletin - http://www.gov.mb.ca/chc/press/top/2011/04/2011-04-07-151600-11201.html
Province of Manitoba Daily Water Levels and Forecasts - http://www.gov.mb.ca/waterstewardship/floodinfo/
City of Winnipeg Updates - http://www.winnipeg.ca/emergweb/
Winnipeg Free Press Live Flood Cameras - http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/special/flood/webcams/
Regional Health Authority Central Manitoba Inc.: Coping with Flood Anxieties - http://www.rha-central.mb.ca/data/
RM of Ritchot Update - http://www.ritchot.com/main.asp?fxoid=FXMenu,3&cat_ID=34&sub_ID=192
RM of West St. Paul Update - http://weststpaul.com/assets/downloads/flood-update-april04.pdf
Information from the Manitoba Flood Bulletin #9—April 11, 2011
Cooler temperatures forecast for later in the week will generally slow run-off and water level rises in the Assiniboine River basin,
Dauphin Lake basin and Interlake area.
A high-water advisory is issued for Sturgeon Creek. The high-water advisories for the Souris River near Melita and the down-
stream portion of the Pembina River remain in effect.
Yesterday’s rainfall in the Fargo area did not increase the crest on the Red River, but is likely to sustain it for a longer period.
The main stem of the Red River from Emerson to south of the city of Winnipeg has generally risen just over 0.15 m (0.5 ft.) since yes-
terday’s readings. Flows on the Red River at Emerson are 37,000 cfs.
Water levels at the floodway inlet have risen approximately 0.09 m (0.3 ft.). Flow rates in the Red River above the floodway are ap-
proximately 62,000 cfs with an upstream elevation of 231.5 m (759.39 ft.). Flows in the floodway are at approximately 17,500 cfs.
Closure of PTH 75 at Morris is expected tomorrow. The ring dike at St. Jean Baptise and a crossing at Noyes are closed to protect
area residents. PR 200 access to the north end of St. Adolphe is restricted to one-lane traffic.
The Red River between Winnipeg and Selkirk is open. Ice from Netley Creek to Lake Winnipeg has partially moved out and water
levels are declining.
Information from the Manitoba Flood Bulletin #9 cont.—April 11, 2011
A partial ring-dike closure will likely occur on the north side of Morris tomorrow. This would be a precautionary measure to address fore-
casted winds that may push additional water toward the town’s dikes and PTH 75.
PTH 75 continues to be assessed and may potentially close at Morris tomorrow.
Partial ring-dike closures are underway or complete at Noyes, St. Jean Baptiste, Gretna, St. Adolphe and Ste. Agathe.
Work along the ring dike at Letellier is complete.
Lake Manitoba is above the upper limits of its operating range and, as a result, operation of the Fairford Dam is expected to begin tomor-
row to lower the lake level, which is currently at 247.8 metres (812.85 feet). Downstream from the dam, the level of Lake St. Martin has
dropped to 244.5 m (802.16 ft.) and the Dauphin River is now clear of ice. Lake St. Martin First Nation and the Little Saskatchewan First
Nation have flood protection measures in place up to 245.3 m (805 ft.). The Fairford Dam outflow is currently 9,000 cubic feet per second
(cfs) and it will be increased to 10,500 cfs.
The installation of cage barrier (Hesco) dikes at Spruce Woods Park is also complete and is protecting park infrastructure.
Work to set up three kilometres of water-filled barrier-tube dikes in the Vita and Gardenton area should be completed tomorrow.
The Red River Floodway is continuing to operate to protect the city of Winnipeg and hold levels south of the city at natural.
The Fisher and Icelandic rivers are experiencing ice jamming. Equipment is on site at bridges on these two rivers to help break up the ice
Some flooding occurred in the Minitonas area as a result of ice and one home was flooded. Levels have now dropped. The breakup of
rivers and streams is starting in the Swan River area.
As a precautionary measure, the Office of the Chief Provincial Public Health Officer has issued a boil-water advisory for those using pri-
vate, untreated water sources such as well water or surface water for drinking water in flooded areas. The Manitoba government will
once again cover the costs of testing drinking water supplies once flooding has ended.
The main stem of the Assiniboine River at Brandon and Holland has risen less than 0.3 m (1 ft.) since yesterday. Tributaries and the main
stem of the river remain within banks at all locations at this time.
Shellmouth Reservoir inflow is 990 cfs and outflow is 400 cfs with a reservoir elevation of 412.8 m (1,384 ft.).
Flows in the Portage Diversion channel are 5,250 cfs and flows on the Assiniboine River downstream of the diversion are 2,950 cfs. Inflow
is 8,200 cfs.
In the next two days, flows will increase on the Assiniboine River east of Southport to about 5,000 cfs.
Significant run-off has started in the Pembina River system. Tributaries such as Badger Creek are bank full. Water levels on the Pembina
River at Neche, N.D., have risen 0.5 m (1.7 ft.) since yesterday.
Water levels on the Manitoba portion of the Pembina River and downstream of Rock Lake have increased by 0.4 m (1.2 ft.) since yester-
day and are above bank-full levels.
Water continues to overtop the banks at several locations on the Souris River. Water levels on the Souris River at Melita are the same as
Due to recent warmer temperatures and the subsequent snowmelt, water levels on Sturgeon Creek have risen by more than 0.3 m (one
ft.) in the last two days and are close to bank-full levels at the Ness Avenue bridge.
Ice conditions on the Fisher and Icelandic rivers have caused water to overtop banks at some locations.
The Icelandic River has increased 0.94 m (3.1 ft.) since yesterday.
Other Major Waterways
Water levels on the Roseau River are cresting but a second crest for the U.S. is expected.
Run-off on the Brokenhead and La Salle rivers is well underway and flows are increasing.
The Saskatchewan River has seen minimal rises in the last 24 hours.
Water levels on the Whitemud River at Keyes increased by approximately 1.2 m (four ft.) since yesterday. Water levels increased 0.5 m
(1.5 ft.) at Westbourne since yesterday.
Alerts can now be sent via text message to your cell phone or email
If you don’t have access or time to continually check the Internet during flooding, you can get water level or
other information from selected stream gages sent directly to your email or cell phone. This service is called
USGS WaterAlert (http://water.usgs.gov/wateralert/ ) and it is FREE. For example, if you live next to the Red
River, you can ask WaterAlert to send to you a message when the river elevation at the Red River at Fargo,
ND stream gage reaches flood stage.