Lower than normal precipitation and a slow, gradual thaw have led to cautious optimism as the Red River flood forecast was lowered to 46 feet, significantly less than previously forecast.
Lower than normal precipitation since mid-January, a good outlook for less precipitation in the next couple of weeks, and a slow and steady melt all led to the improved forecast.
Water levels in the southern Red River basin have begun rising, and are expected to crest between 30 and 32 feet late next week in Fargo.
In Grand Forks, the crest is expected within two to three weeks, likely in mid-April.
The City of Grand Forks has filled 10,000 sandbags, but if the forecast remains good, does not expect to do a lot of sandbagging. Workers have begun working early on the invisible floodwall to accommodate social distancing because of COVID-19 concerns. Workers have also been cutting out ice and logjams around floodgates.
Some minor closures, such as Riverside Park and pedestrian bridges, are expected to begin next week. The Point Bridge is expected to close later. The Kennedy Bridge is expected to remain open. Closure of the Sorlie Bridge will be determined by water levels.
On campus, Facilities Management workers are checking buildings daily to ensure they are dry. Flooding is not expected on campus, since the new projected crest is lower.
More information is available from the National Weather Service flood briefing of March 26.