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Fargo and Grand Forks see wettest autumn ever

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news Detroit Lakes, 56501
Detroit Lakes Minnesota 511 Washington Avenue 56501

GRAND FORKS - It's official. This is the wettest autumn on record in Fargo and Grand Forks.

The bitter, wet storm that swept across North Dakota into Minnesota last week dropped enough to set a new high.

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Chauncy Schultz, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Grand Forks, said in Fargo, the precipitation has been jotted down officially since 1881 and never has this much -- 10.65 inches since Sept. 1 -- fallen in the three months of fall, he said. The previous record was set in 1977 when 10.25 inches of precip fell on Fargo from Sept. 1 to Nov. 30.

"So, this really just shattered that record," he said.

Schultz said 11.79 inches of precipitation had fallen in Grand Forks from Sept. 1 through 6 p.m. Monday. The record for precipitation in Grand Forks from Sept 1 through Nov. 30 -- what weatherpeople call fall -- had been 10.41 inches, set in 1957, Schultz said. Records have been kept in Grand Forks since 1905.

This fall's record rainyness can only grow, with every drop or snowflake until Dec. 1 adding to it, Schultz said.

What's more, the entire year is rising in the ranks of wet record setting, he said.

Fargo has had the sixth wettest year, so far, with 28.93 inches of precipitation falling from Jan. 1 until 6 p.m. Monday, or 8.84 inches above the 30-year average precipitation for the same period, Schultz said.

Grand Forks has had the 11th-wettest year so far, with 24.45 inches of precipitation, either snow, sleet or rain, he said; that would be 6.24 inches above the 30-year norm for the same period.

The record annual precipitation for Fargo is 34.75 inches in 2000, he said.

The record annual precipitation for Grand Forks wasn't immediately available.

Just because it's the wettest fall on record doesn't necessarily mean there will be big snows this winter or a big flood next spring, Schultz said.

In 1957, when Grand Forks set its previous record for autumn wetness, less than a foot of snow fell the next winter and the Red River crested at 16.03 feet, far below flood stage, weather service data shows.

The fall of 1996, preceding the spring Flood of 1997, doesn't even rank in the top 10 wettest autumns in Grand Forks.

How much snow falls, and how fast it melts next spring will be key factors in determining whether there is much flooding, Schultz said.

For what it's worth, the remainder of November looks to be about average in precipitation, he said.

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