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Red River: North Dakota Sees Record Flood Levels

April 1st, 2009 Category: Floods

North Dakota and Minnesota, USA - March 29th, 2009

North Dakota and Minnesota, USA - March 29th, 2009

The states of North Dakota (center left), South Dakota (bottom left) and Minnesota (right) in the USA as well as the southern part of Canada’s Manitoba (top left) and Ontario (top right) provinces are all visible here. Lake Superior shows its southwestern tip in the upper right corner.

Recently, North Dakota, Minnesota and Manitoba have all been affected by high water levels in the Red River. The Fargo-Moorhead area in North Dakota saw record flood levels.

The flood is a result of saturated and frozen ground, Spring snowmelt exacerbated by additional rain and snow storms, and virtually flat terrain.

Unlike the vast majority of rivers in the United States, the Red River flows northward, which means melting snow and river ice, as well as runoff from its tributaries, often create ice dams, which cause the river to overflow. The valley is essentially flat, leading to overland flooding, with no high ground on which to take refuge.

The river crest was originally predicted to reach a level of near 43 feet (13 m) at Fargo by March 29, although the river in fact crested at 40.82 feet (12.44 m) at 12:15 a.m. March 28, and started a slow decline. The river continued to rise to the north as the crest moved downstream.

Other climate-related factors also influenced the flooding: ground which was already saturated when it froze at the onset of winter, melting snow which could not be absorbed by the frozen ground, and additional precipitation from a rain storm on March 22 and a later snowstorm.

A low-pressure area caused the rain storm on March 22 and by March 25 a total of 15 to 25 cm (6 to 10 inches) fell in the Winnipeg area, and 20 to 30 cm (8 to 12 inches) in southern Manitoba. In northeastern North Dakota and northwestern Minnesota, around 8 inches of snow accumulated from the same storm.

Lake Oahe and Missouri River, South Dakota, USA

January 6th, 2009 Category: Fires, Rivers

Lake Oahe and Missouri River, South Dakota, USA - November 27th, 2008

Lake Oahe and Missouri River, South Dakota, USA - November 27th, 2008

The river snaking its way across this image of part of South Dakota, USA is the Missouri River. The lower segments reveal some sediments, while the wider navy blue parts actually constitute Lake Oahe.

The rest of the area seems primarily used for agriculture. To the left, we can see a white patch of snow covering some fields.

Lake Oahe is the 4th largest man-made reservoir in the United States. It stretches 231 miles (372 km) up the course of the Missouri to Bismarck, North Dakota.

Lake Oahe was created by the Oahe Dam, a large man-made dam along the Missouri River, just north of Pierre, South Dakota in the United States.

The dam’s powerplant provides electricity for much of the north-central United States. The project provides flood control, electric power, irrigation, and navigation benefits, estimated by the Corps of Engineers at $150,000,000 per year.

However, the construment of the dam also caused much displacement of the American Indian population, as the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation and Standing Rock Reservation lost huge parcels of land, including much of their prime agricultural acreage.

source Wikipedia