BISMARCK, N.D. – Representatives from multiple state agencies, including the Governor’s Office, North Dakota Department of Emergency Services, North Dakota Department of Water Resources and North Dakota National Guard, began planning and collaboration efforts yesterday in anticipation of potential spring flooding after heavy snowfall and persistent cold has gripped the state over the fall and winter months.
The initial meeting at the State Emergency Operations Center on Fraine Barracks in Bismarck was facilitated to enable a unified approach for flood preparedness and potential response and recovery efforts. Other participating agencies included the North Dakota Department of Transportation, North Dakota Highway Patrol, North Dakota Department of Health and Human Services, North Dakota Department of Environmental Quality, North Dakota Department of Agriculture, North Dakota Civil Air Patrol, North Dakota Parks and Recreation Department and the National Weather Service’s offices in Bismarck and Grand Forks.
“Our state team is always most effective when using a whole-of-government approach toward disaster response. While flooding is not imminent, things like ice jams and additional precipitation could call for a quick response. We want to make sure our local communities, state agencies and federal partners have the tools they need now so everyone is better prepared,” said Gov. Doug Burgum.
The National Weather Service yesterday issued its latest spring flood outlook for the Red River and Devils Lake basins. With the recent additional snowfall, below normal temperatures persisting and a delayed melt, the risk for flooding again increased. Moderate to major flooding was depicted along the mainstem Red River and the southeastern North Dakota tributaries in the outlook. A flood outlook for the Missouri, James and Souris River basins also was released yesterday.
State agencies have continued to work with local entities and federal partners to review response processes, bolster flood preparedness by pre-positioning flood response equipment and share information. The local, state and federal partners routinely participate in training exercises with one another throughout the year, focusing on a range of disasters and emergencies.
“The purpose of our meeting today was to touch base with one another, introduce new members to our state team and make sure we all know our respective responsibilities during a flood response,” said North Dakota Adjutant General and Director of Emergency Services Maj. Gen. Al Dohrmann. “Mostly, we’re ensuring that if our state agencies are needed in our local communities, we are ready and prepared to assist.”
The snowmelt timing and thaw cycle, along with a further impactful snow or rain event, will be determining factors for potential flood events in the coming weeks.
“Soils are very dry and warm, which suggests they are available and can provide significant storage for rainfall and meltwater,” said Allen Schlag, hydrologist for the National Weather Service in Bismarck.
For more information on flood resources and preparedness, visit ndresponse.gov.