“Why does the Red River Flood?”

1. It flows north which makes the river prone to ice dams. If the answer isn’t obvious from that statement simply think about spring warming trends in the northern states especially North Dakota and Minnesota. The thaw can come weeks earlier in the southern Red River Valley compared to the Northern. Large amounts of water moving North forces itself under the still frozen ice which causes rapid breakup. Large amounts of free floating ice bond together and forum ice jams which forces the river out of its banks.

2. Farm drainage causes the river flooding to be worse because the water is able to get to the river rapidly rather than dissipating over a longer period of time.

3. Climate change and cyclical climate change. As most people know the whole region in and around the Red River basin experience cyclical changes in precipitation. From about 1993 on we have been in a wet cycle and will continue to be for several more years. (Yes, there can be dry years within the wet cycle.)