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Weather Talk: Rivers are beginning to rise

As winter loosens its grip on the Red River Valley this week, melt waters are starting to gather.

The Buffalo River in Minnesota and the Wild Rice River in North Dakota are starting to spill into minor flood stage. Here in Fargo-Moorhead, the Red River is also beginning to stir.

River forecasts are based on hydrological models operated at the National Weather Service River Forecast Center in Chanhassen, Minn. Once the rivers begin to flow out of their banks, data from river level gauges, estimates of snowpack water, the state of the soil and the weather forecast are compared to conditions observed in the past.

The hydrological model output is released out to only seven days because the many variables, particularly future weather, is difficult to estimate beyond a few days. At this point, only relatively minor flooding is expected, but that could change if we started getting widespread heavy rain.

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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