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U.S. Geological Survey Flood Photos

 Red River of the North Flooding - 1979

Click on Image for Enlarged Version

The following is a description of the 1979 in a U.S. Geological Survey Water-Supply Paper published in 1991.


One of the most noteworthy floods in North Dakota occurred during April 1979.  The Red River of the North, which forms the boundary between North Dakota and Minnesota, inundated more than 1 million acres of valuable farmland and caused damage of about $114 million.  

The peak discharge of 82,000 ft3/s on April 23 at Grand Forks had a recurrence interval greater than 50 years; that discharge was exceeded only during the flood of 1897 [the 1979 discharge has since been exceeded by the 1997 flood].  Several peak discharges established new records on major tributaries to the Red River of the North, including the Sheyenne and Good Rivers.  On the Goose River at Hillsboro, the peak discharge on April 21 was 14,800 ft3/s, which has a recurrence interval greater than 100 years.  

The principal factors that probably contributed to the flood were (1) intense precipitation during late winter, especially in upstream parts of the basin, and continuation of this precipitation into late April and early May; and (2) lower than normal temperatures during the winter of 1978-79, with a subsequent delay of spring snowmelt until mid-April, followed by a sudden increase in temperature that caused rapid melting.

 

Ryan, G.L., 1991, North Dakota floods and droughts: U.S. Geological Survey Water-Supply Paper 2375, p. 435-442.

 Links to Additional Images of Red River of the North Flooding


Floodtracking Charts
North Dakota State University Fargo Flood Homepage
U.S. Army Corp of Engineers Flood Reconnaissance Photographs


USGS Flood Related Publications


North Dakota Water Resources Images
U.S. Geological Survey at Work Images

Overflow around bridge of Red River of the North near Halstad, Minnesota

Overflow around bridge of Red River of the North near Halstad, MN
April 26, 1979

Overflow of Red River of the North in field along river, just below bridge near Halstad, MN

Overflow of Red River of the North in field along river, just below bridge near Halstad, MN
April 26, 1979

Red River of the North at Drayton, spring 1979

Red River of the North at Drayton
Spring 1979

Red River at Drayton of the North at Drayton

Red River at Drayton of the North at Drayton
Looking from bridge west
Spring 1979



Flood Photos Gallery


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