Upper Midwest Flooding
National Operational Hydrologic
Remote Sensing Center
||Northern Plains Flooding
In early spring of 1997,
the Northern Plains endured devastating floods.
Towns along the Red River like Grand Forks, North Dakota
were shut down due to flooding that completely
paralyzed the city, leaving entire downtown areas underwater.
Floodwater is shown here in white while unmelted snow is shaded red.
During the Fall of 1996, towns along the Red River received record amounts of
rain. In the winter, a cold air outbreak froze the water
before it could runoff, and the record rainfall
was followed up by record amounts of snow.
Snow continued to pile up during the long winter and once
temperatures finally warmed up, the melting began. However, not
only did the snow from the winter melt, but also
the frozen rainwater from the previous Fall season.
As it turned out, there was too much water for local streams and the
Red River to handle, and consequently, the entire area flooded.
River levels rose to as much as 27 feet above flood stage! Large pieces of
floating ice blocked the flow of the river, forcing it out of its banks and
into nearby residences and businesses.