Weather Forecast


Red River flood crest expected in GF-EGF today

Water flows over the Sorlie Memorial Bridge as the Red River rises Wednesday afternoon. Herald photo by Jay Pickthorn.

GRAND FORKS - The Red River is expected to crest in Grand Forks and East Grand Forks today.

Fifty feet is the projected height, according to the National Weather Service.

That's well below the highest crest ever recorded in the cities (54.35 feet in 1997) and, if it doesn't exceed 50 feet, it will fall short of the second-largest event (50.20 feet in 1897).

But the 2009 flood already has the third spot wrapped up. The previous third-largest flood event was 48.81 in 1979.

The river was moving up and down Wednesday. It went from 49.5 feet at 10:30 a.m. to 49.33 feet at 12:45 p.m. to 49.42 feet at 2:45 p.m.

Possible reasons for the rise and fall include ice jams.

"There's a lot of ice still in the channel, upstream and downstream," said Mike Lukes, a meteorologist with the NWS.

A graph on the NWS Web site said Grand Forks and East Grand Forks had an "observed crest" of 49.5 feet at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday.

But NWS officials said they didn't believe the Red had reached its crest in Grand Forks and East Grand Forks.

"The wording shouldn't be there," Lukes said. "That's probably a bug in the program."

Lukes said the NWS expects a second crest to hit the Grand Forks area later this month.

"We still have snow to melt, ground to thaw and that ground is saturated," he said. "So we have to dry out that ground ... and then (add) any rain or precipitation.

"So, we're expecting another rise."

Lukes said the NWS has no idea on the potential height of a second crest.

"The weather could change it," he said. "We're not really saying too much about that, because it's way in the future, hydrologically speaking."

Reach Fee at (701) 780-1127; (800) 477-6572, ext. 127; or send e-mail to