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Weather service: Red River at Fargo reached preliminary crest of 38.75 feet at 6:15 p.m. Saturday

North Dakota National Guardsmen, left, walk the levee protecting downtown Fargo, N.D. from the floodwaters of the Red River on Saturday, April 9, 2011. At right are engineers from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The Red River neared its spring flooding peak on Saturday, approaching historic highs yet short of the levels that might have cracked the defenses of a city used to dealing with high water. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)

FARGO - The Red River at Fargo-Moorhead reached a preliminary crest of 38.75 feet at 6:15 p.m. Saturday, the National Weather Service stated this morning.

The latest reading from 10:15 this morning showed the Red at 38.54 feet and observational data from overnight shows the Red slowly retreating.

The National Weather Service's forecast shows the Red gradually declining during the next seven days. The weather service statement this morning says additional precipitation is expected throughout the day today, which will prolong flooding in the Fargo-Moorhead area.

Final determinations of the actual crest will be made at a later date by the U.S. Geological Survey, the weather service stated.

Overnight river levels fluctuated slightly but most recordings, taken every 15 minutes, show the Red leveling off or declining by a hundredth of an inch. A few readings showed a slight bump in the level.

This spring's flood marks an unprecedented third consecutive year the Red topped major flood stage, which is 30 feet in Fargo, and ranks as the fourth highest flood in recorded history.

Fargo's top crest came in 2009, with a mark of 40.84 feet, followed by 39.72 feet in 1997 and 39.1 feet in 1897.

This past winter also brought the third snowiest winter on record, and the spring flood surpassed last year's flood, which reached 36.99 feet.

The weather service continues to forecast rain for today but showers aren't expected to result in higher river readings.

The latest weather service forecast shows:

Today: Showers. High near 51. Breezy, with a north northwest wind between 16 and 25 mph, with gusts as high as 36 mph. Chance of precipitation is 80%. New rainfall amounts between a quarter and half of an inch possible.

Tonight: Showers likely, mainly before 1am. Cloudy, with a low around 36. Breezy, with a north northwest wind between 22 and 24 mph, with gusts as high as 33 mph. Chance of precipitation is 70%. New rainfall amounts of less than a tenth of an inch possible.

Monday: Mostly cloudy, then gradually becoming sunny, with a high near 57. Breezy, with a north northwest wind between 17 and 21 mph, with gusts as high as 26 mph.

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