The Red River located near Fargo, North Dakota, has a history of flooding due to abnormal climate conditions. Every year precautions are taken to help minimize damages that are caused by the flooding. There are four main reasons that contribute to the river flooding so often. These main reasons for the floods are: Synchrony of discharge with spring thaw, ice jams, glacial lake plain, and the decrease in gradient downstream. The first reason that contributes to the river flooding so often is the ice melting in the spring. The Red River flows northward, and when the ice thaws, it also runs northward along the valley, causing runoff from the southern portions of the river. When the ice, river water, and runoff all join together in the
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The Red River in Fargo has had a history of floods in the past. The first major recorded flood in Fargo was in 1897. This flood had a crest of over 40 feet (Akyuz). The cause of the flood was due to an extreme amount of snowfall that year. The snowfall that year was at an estimated five feet. This flood was devastating to the city of Fargo because the city was not prepared for it. The people of Fargo started taking necessary precautions for floods after the devastating 1897 flood. Image of the 1897 flood. The next recorded major flood in Fargo, North Dakota happened in 1997. One hundred years later the river had a major flood again. This time the flood happened because of extreme cold temperatures and heavy snowfall. Fargo recorded 117 inches of snow that year, and the cold weather formed many ice jams. The city of Fargo received over five billion dollars worth of damage to the area. Overland flooding in the Red River Valley, north of Fargo-Moorhead, 1997 flood.
Shown is the Red River of the North (riparian woodland, lower-right toward upper-left) at its
Junction with the Sheyenne River (riparian woodland, bottom edge of photo), 1997 flood.
View is toward the northeast. (Photo by D.P. Schwert, April 27, 1997). (Schwert). Another historical part of the Red River floods is due to Lake Agassiz. Lake Agassiz is a large glacial lake that is found near the Red River in Fargo, ND. The lake is