Although there continues to be flood warnings in effect along the Mississippi River from near Hudson down south toward La Crosse, most of the effects have been minor. In other words, nothing too out of the ordinary from melting snow. However in vast contrast to this is the Red River which has exceeded flood stage for the second year in a row. We're not talking by just a foot or two, but exceeding flood stage by 5 to 20 feet.
If you didn't know, the Red River is one of those rivers which actually flows from south to north along the North Dakota/Minnesota border. Unlike the Chicago River that was adjusted by hydraulic engineers to flow "backward", the Red River follows the elevation as it lowers from White Rock in southern North Dakota, through Grand Forks and northbound to the US/Canadian Border at Pembina. One of the saving graces this year compared to last is that heavy rain has stayed away from the western Plains as the flooding increased along the river during the past month. In addition, the communities along the river prepared well in advance of when the Red River began to rise, literally starting the sandbag filling campaign way back in the first part of February. Although the Red River did crest slightly lower than last year, that does not mean everyone was spared water overtaking their neighborhoods. Check out these photos from the National Weather Service in Grand Forks, ND.
In addition you can monitor the flooding along the Red River by checking out the River Gages on the NWS Grand Forks website.
Meantime March is winding down and it does appear it is going to end up being milder and drier than average locally. So far no measurable snow has fallen in Wausau or Rhinelander and depending on the track of the upcoming storms in the Midwest this week and next, it could go down as the least snowiest since 1973 in Wausau when only a tenth of an inch fell. If you are wondering, on average in March about 11 inches of snow falls in Wausau, while 8.5" is typical in Rhinelander. Nevertheless, the warmer jacket and yes even the snow shovel may be necessary at least for a few more weeks, but the end is in sight for the season.
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