John Wheeler: Comparing this year's flood set up to years past
This year's setup in no way resembles the flood years of 2009 or 1997.
FARGO — No two spring floods are exactly alike. However, when comparing floods from the past, similarities arise. To begin with, there is no comparison to 2009 because that flood had already happened by this date. This year in no way resembles 1997, either. Much of the region had from 8-12 inches of water in the snow, which is more than double this year's. It is a wonder that flood wasn't worse than it was, and it was bad enough.
The main characteristics of the present setup include above average but far below record snow water content and a slightly dry soil base underneath. The concern is, of course, the continuation of winter temperatures which increases the possibility of more heavy snow or a heavy April rain. An analogue year which did not include a late rain is 2013. Analogue floods which did get a heavy rain include 1969 and 1979.