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U.S. forecast shows even risk of moderate flooding, low risk of major flood

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The first Red River Valley flood outlook of the year from south of the border is promising: a 50-50 chance of moderate flooding but a low chance of a major, very serious flood.

The first spring flood outlook issued by the U.S. National Weather Service's Grand Forks office suggests Red River is in for a moderate flood, based on current soil-moisture, stream flow and snow-pack conditions.

A moderate flood would be akin to what the Red River Valley experienced in 2007, when rivers and streams exceeded their banks in some places but relatively few roads were closed.

"At this point in time, the risk for substantial flooding appears low," Greg Gust of the National Weather Service said in a statement. "But there’s a lot of winter yet to unfold! An early thaw is less likely."

While southern Manitoba has a lot of snow on the ground, the snowpack is lower in Minnesota and North Dakota and the snow that is on the ground is relatively dry, the National Weather Service said. The rest of the winter is expected to be cold, which could mean low precipitation.

The National Weather Service will issue its next flood outlook on Feb. 20.

Manitoba's first flood forecast is expected no earlier than next week.

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