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U.S. Geological Survey Flood Photos

 Red River of the North Flooding - 2006

Click on Image for Enlarged Version

The spring of 2006 brought another round of flooding to the Red River of North and its many tributaries in eastern North Dakota and western Minnesota. Flooding in the Red River of the North Basin was preceded by above-normal precipitation in many areas in the fall of 2005. Snow pack in many parts of the Red River of the North Basin reached 300 percent of normal by early 2006. Flooding began in late March in the upper (southern part) basin and the severity of the flooding increased when the southern part of the basin received 1.25 inches of rain on March 30-31, 2006. Rain, rising temperatures, and rapid snowmelt pushed the flood crest northward. Many of the 2006 peak stages and peak discharges were one of the five highest for the periods of record at streamflow gaging stations on the Red River of the North and its tributaries.


Wahpeton / Breckenridge


On April 1, 2006, the peak stage on the Red River at Wahpeton, N. Dak. (station number 05051500), was 15.93, which is 3.49 feet less than the peak of record, 19.42 feet, set in 1997, and the 2006 peak discharge was 7,180 cubic feet per second. The recurrence interval for this peak discharge was between 10 and 25 years. [Since 2005, flows from the Otter Tail River (at the headwaters of the Red River of the North) are partially diverted around Breckenridge, Minn. The diverted flows are measured at the USGS streamflow gaging station, Otter Tail River Diversion at Breckenridge, MN (station number 05046475). Flows for the Wahpeton streamflow gaging station are combined with the flows diverted around Breckenridge, Minn., to give a more accurate accounting of the quantity of water going through the river system during periods of high flow. This information is important when comparing historical streamflow data to streamflow data obtain after 2005 at the Wahpeton, N. Dak. gaging station.]


Fargo / Moorhead


On April 5, 2006, the peak stage on the Red River at Fargo, N. Dak. (station number 05054000), was 37.13, which is 2.59 feet less than the peak of record, 39.72 feet, set in 1997, and the 2006 peak discharge was 19,900 cubic feet per second. The 2006 peak discharge was the 4th highest peak on record since 1900. The recurrence interval for this peak discharge was between 25 and 50 years.


Grand Forks / East Grand Forks


On April 6, 2006, the peak stage on the Red River at Grand Forks, N. Dak. (station number 05082500), was 47.93, which is 6.42 feet less than the peak of record, 54.35 feet, set in 1997, and the 2006 peak discharge was 72,800 cubic feet per second. The 2006 peak discharge was the 5th highest peak on record for this streamflow gaging station since 1882. The recurrence interval for this peak discharge was between 25 and 50 years. One of the largest contributing tributaries to the Red River of North in the United States is Red Lake River in Minnesota. In any given year, Red Lake River may contribute from 15 to 50 percent or more of the flow to the Red River of the North at Grand Forks, N. Dak. This tributary enters the Red River of North a few hundred feet downstream of the Point Bridge in Grand Forks, N. Dak. - East Grand Forks, Minn. On April 2, 2006, the peak stage at Red Lake River at Crookston, Minn. (station number 05079000) was 25.24 feet which is 3.16 feet less than the peak of record, 28.40 feet, set in 1997, and the 2006 peak discharge was 26,400 cubic feet per second. The recurrence interval for this peak discharge was between 25 and 50 years.


Devils Lake Basin


Devils Lake is a 3,810-square-mile closed subbasin within the Red River Basin in North Dakota. At an elevation of about 1,446.5 feet above sea level (asl), Devils Lake begins to spill into nearby Stump Lake. On May 9, 2006, Devils Lake reached a new peak daily elevation of 1449.20 feet asl (Devils Lake near Devils Lake gaging station 05056500). The previous peak was 1449.18 feet asl which occurred on June 17, 2004. Not only is the rising stage of Devils Lake a subject of concern, but the flooding caused by the rising lake level also is a concern to people living within this closed basin. Since 1993, rising water has inundated homes, businesses, and agricultural lands and has caused some nearby roads to be closed permanently. The rising water has caused damages exceeding $450 million and sparked controversy on mitigating the rising water.

Wild Rice River nr Abercrombie

March 31, 2006
The Wild Rice River near Abercrombie, ND.


Flooded trees east of Sorlie Bridge, ND

April 27, 2006
Flooded trees east of Sorlie Bridge in Grand Forks, ND.
Click here to view this same area during the 1997 flood.


April 27, 2006
USGS personnel measuring flood overflow near Whiteys Restaurant in East Grand Forks, ND.
Click here to view Whiteys Restaurant during the 1997 flood.


Temporary dike south of Main Avenue Bridge in Fargo, ND.

April 27, 2006
Temporary dike south of Main Avenue Bridge in Fargo, ND.


Main Avenue Bridge in Fargo, ND

April 27, 2006
Main Avenue Bridge in Fargo, ND.


East Grand Forks

April 27, 2006
Red River of the North in East Grand Forks, ND.


Northern Pacific Avenue Bridge in Fargo, ND

April 4, 2006
Northern Pacific Avenue Bridge in Fargo, ND.


USGS personnel measuring flood overflow at a bridge on the Red River near Thompson, North Dakota

April 4,6, 2006
USGS personnel measuring flood overflow at a bridge on the Red River near Thompson, ND.
Click here to view this same area during the 2001 flood.



Flood Photos Gallery


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