Weather Forecast


Weather Talk: Summer drought more likely than spring flood this year

There continues to be only a low risk of spring snowmelt flooding this year.

Not only does the snowpack contain well below average moisture across the Red River Basin, but soil moisture conditions are considerably drier than average. Rainfall last year, April through November, was anywhere from 2 to 7 inches lower than average.

The one element that could present a problem is that the frost depth is substantial.

One week ago the frost depth in Fargo was measured at 39 inches. This is largely due to the light covering of snow this winter.

In the unlikely event of a very heavy rainfall, the frozen ground could cause a rapid runoff. However, it would take an incredibly rare and heavy rainfall for flooding to become serious.

The concern of a spring and summer drought is probably more realistic. However, a summer drought is much more closely defined by summer rainfall than winter snow.

John Wheeler

John was born in Baton Rouge, LA, and grew up near Birmingham, Alabama. As a teenager, his family moved to Madison, Wisconsin, and later to a small town in northeast Iowa. John traces his early interest in weather to the difference in climate between Alabama and Wisconsin. He is a graduate of Iowa State University with a degree in meteorology. Like any meteorologist, John is intrigued by extremes of weather, especially arctic air outbreaks and winter storms.  John has been known to say he prefers his summers to be hot but in winter, he prefers the cold.  When away from work, John enjoys long-distance running and reading.  John has been a meteorologist at WDAY since May of 1985.

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