Mother Nature spares North Dakota despite historic flooding in the Midwest – InForum

FARGO – Despite historic flooding across much of the Midwest, North Dakota’s flood season was quiet.

In Minnesota, things are different: dozens of counties are facing the wrath of Mother Nature.

Waterville is currently experiencing the worst flooding on record. Sandbags are currently being filled and the National Guard has been authorized to assist in emergency response efforts.

“As of today, we have 46 Soldiers that will support operations in Waterville, Minnesota,” said Adjutant General Sean Mankey of the Minnesota National Guard in a press conference on Monday, June 24.

The Rapidan Dam south of Mankato is on the verge of catastrophic failure as debris piles up and the Blue Earth River overflows its banks.

“The structural integrity of the dam has long been in question,” said Governor Walz.

There could be more trouble.

“Some of them are still rising, especially the larger rivers like the Minnesota and Mississippi, and will continue to rise and may not peak until later this week,” said Daniel Hawblitzel, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in the Twin Cities.

But North Dakota is comparatively quiet, despite the severe flooding periods in our history.

In Fargo, Elm Street was closed several times, but water levels never exceeded minor flood levels throughout the season, and unlike the previous two years, there were no community-wide sandbag collection efforts.

Why is our flood season so mild while our neighbors are bracing for a rough week? It's because of our winter season, or more accurately, the fact that we don't have a winter season.

“At the beginning of spring, our soils were dry,” said Blake Rafferty, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Grand Forks. “After the melt, we didn't have much snow to penetrate the soil.”

Many of our neighboring states have been hit by incessant rains without the soil having time to soak up the water. We too have had a wet spring, but the rains have been more evenly distributed, giving the soil a much-needed rest in the meantime.

“In Sioux Falls, for example, there were three or four rainstorms over the course of a week, each bringing an inch or more of rain,” Rafferty said. “And that's when the problems really started.”

Mike McGurran has been a reporter and anchor at WDAY-TV since 2021.

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