By the end of last week, residents of the city of Fargo thought disaster had been averted. The dikes are currently holding and the Red Rive has gone down a bit. Basically, they have been in a holding pattern for several days.
But all of that is about to change. North and South Dakota (and Minnesota, where I live) are expecting up to 14 inches of snow today and tomorrow. Understand that the Red River of the North flows north. It begins near Whapeton South Dakota and ends in Winnipeg Manitoba. And four large cities lies in the path between. Fargo and Moorhead have a combined population of approximately 125,000 people and Grand Forks and East Grand Forks have populations of about 50,000.
This possible 14 inches of snow that is falling as this is being written, will come on top of mountains of snow and ice from the last storm about a week ago. Things have held steady because temperatures have remained low, so very little melting has occurred. Tonight’s storm will not just bring snow, but will be accompanied by severe winds. North Dakota is extremely flat and wind is always an issue (one of the main reasons I moved away from the plains). If winds hit the flood waters and create waves that hit potentially weak dikes, the levies could begin to fail.
Even more frightening, is the enormous potential that all of the snow and ice that has and will accumulate, will quickly melt and feed into the Red River, bringing this mighty river back into devastating power against any of the cities that lie on it’s banks.