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Red River Valley facing its worst flooding in a decade, Canada/U.S.

An extreme spring blizzard, multiple rainstorms, and melting winter ice swelled the Red River of the North and its tributaries, driving them out of their banks and across a broad, flat floodplain. The deluge comes one year after the same region endured extreme drought.

According to the U.S. National Weather Service, the water level on the Red River at Pembina, North Dakota crested at 15.93 m (52.27 feet) on May 8 – well above its flood stage of 11.88 m (39 feet).1

The Red River has mostly been dropping at Grand Forks, after cresting just below the major flood stage last week.

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The Red River remained in the major flood stage at Oslo, Minnesota where river gauges measured 11.90 m (36.09 feet) on May 11, 3 m (10 feet) above flood stage.

According to news reports, water managers in northeast North Dakota remain concerned about the 65-year-old Bourbanis Dam, which has been battered by weeks of high water.

Red River of North flood on May 10, 2022. Credit: Copernicus EU/Sentinel-2 (SWIR), The Watchers

At least 26 municipalities in Canada’s Manitoba Province remain in states of emergency.

Roads have been flooded on both sides of the international border, and some towns have been isolated by the high water.

According to Canadian authorities, the Red River flood this year is already the sixth-largest on record (by volume) at Emerson, Manitoba, where the river is cresting, and Ste. Agathe.2

In recent memory, only the 1997 and 2009 floods were larger.

red river of north flood may 10 2020 MODIS
NASA Earth Observatory image by Lauren Dauphin, using MODIS data from NASA EOSDIS LANCE and GIBS/Worldview. Acquired on May 10, 2020
red river of north flood may 10 2022 MODIS
NASA Earth Observatory image by Lauren Dauphin, using MODIS data from NASA EOSDIS LANCE and GIBS/Worldview. Acquired on May 10, 2022

References:

1 Red River Flooding is Worst in a Decade – Earth Observatory – May 12, 2022

2 Southern Manitoba communities brace for more rain amid worst flood in years – CBC – May 9, 2012

Featured image: Red River of North flood on May 10, 2022. Credit: Copernicus EU/Sentinel-2 (SWIR), The Watchers

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