Mountains of snow in Fargo, N.D. and what they mean for flood watchers

So much precipitation in such a short time. This week has been both snowy and a soaker in Fargo N.D., elevating concerns about the possibility of spring flooding.

The enormous and powerful Colorado Low hit Fargo Wednesday afternoon, bringing rain and freezing rain. and continued overnight and into Thursday. Most of the precipitation fell as rain, but slowly changed into snow as the day progressed.


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Global News Winnipeg racing the Colorado Low to North Dakota

This is the second storm to hit the city in a week. Over the weekend, around 30cm fell in Fargo.

Massive snow piles have been created around every parking lot. The small piles are 6-8 feet high but some look to be closer to 25 or 30 feet.

Fargo, N.D.

Fargo, N.D.

Jordan Pearn / Global News
Fargo, N.D.

Fargo, N.D.

Jordan Pearn / Global News
Fargo, N.D.

Fargo, N.D.

Jordan Pearn / Global News
The after effects of two Colorado Lows in the span of a week are easy to see in Fargo, N.D.

The after effects of two Colorado Lows in the span of a week are easy to see in Fargo, N.D.

Jordan Pearn / Global News
Fargo, N.D.

Fargo, N.D.

Jordan Pearn / Global News
Fargo, N.D.

Fargo, N.D.

Jordan Pearn / Global News
Fargo, N.D.

Fargo, N.D.

Jordan Pearn / Global News
Fargo, N.D.

Fargo, N.D.

Jordan Pearn / Global News

The total precipitable water from these storms adds up to roughly 40mm — it is more moisture than the city will typically see during the entire month of March. The normal amount is around 33 mm.

When you add up all the precipitation in the city since October, again, the number is higher than normal. To this point, in a typical year there would be around 4.5 inches of precipitable water. From October 2018 until March 14, there has been 8.3 inches.

With the spring melt on everyone’s mind, comparisons have been made to notable flood years in the recent past like 2009, 2010, and 2011.

To compare precipitable water over the same time frame in those years, in 2009 there was 10.11 inches, in 2010 there was 11.46 inches, and in 2011 there was 5.9 inches.

WATCH: Manitoba flood forecast warns of potential ice jams

It’s important to take into account soil moisture levels at this time of year and during those notable flood years, moisture levels in the soil were already high.

In the short term, while the snow will be melting south of the border, the pace at which that will happen in the near future looks to be at a slow and steady pace.

(Statistics from the National Weather Service in Grand Forks)

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