By Anna Jauhola
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, emergency personnel up and down the Red River Valley are ramping up for spring flooding.
Last week, the Lake Bronson Dam opened one gate on Monday, March 30 and by Tuesday, March 31 all three gates were fully open. The water was flowing at 1,725 cubic feet per second. The flow broke up ice along the Two Rivers channels and caused ice jams to Hallock and beyond. As the river flowed at an accelerated rate, there were log jams and water overtopping roads as overland flooding became a minor issue in areas, according to the Kittson County Highway Department and the Two Rivers Watershed District.
As melting began, the river rose rapidly. The gauge on Highway 175 in Hallock rose from 801.5 feet above sea level on Tuesday at noon to 805.9 feet at noon Wednesday. Then on Friday, April 3, the levels began to even out as the weather turned colder with snow and freezing rain.
The Hallock area reported about 8 inches of snow. The National Weather Service also reports the Karlstad area had between 10 and 16 inches of snow.
The water dropped dramatically over the weekend. The Lake Bronson Dam gates were all still open as of Monday with a discharge of 1,438 cfs. Dan Money, administrator for the Two Rivers Watershed District, said the Greenbush and Badger areas got a foot of snow late last week, which as it melts, the water will head toward Kittson County.
The Two Rivers in Hallock crested at 808.74 feet above sea level and was down to 804 feet by Monday, April 6, according to the National Weather Service at Grand Forks. The river is expected to have a second crest of 807 feet above sea level this Saturday or Sunday. Major flood stage at Hallock starts at 810 feet.
The Red River at Drayton is steadily rising. The National Weather Service graphs show, as of Monday, the river was in minor flood stage at 35.11 feet. Predictions show the river will rise to 41.8 feet by Sunday, April 12, which is moderate flood stage.
By Anna Jauhola