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2011 Souris River flood—Will it happen again?

September 29, 2016

The Souris River Basin is a 61,000 square kilometer basin in the provinces of Saskatchewan and Manitoba and the state of North Dakota. Record setting rains in May and June of 2011 led to record flooding with peak annual streamflow values (762 cubic meters per second [m3/s]) more than twice that of any previously recorded peak streamflow and more than five times the estimated 100 year postregulation streamflow (142 m3/s) at the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) streamflow-gaging station above Minot, North Dakota. Upstream from Minot, N. Dak., the Souris River is regulated by three reservoirs in Saskatchewan (Rafferty, Boundary, and Alameda) and Lake Darling in North Dakota. During the 2011 flood, the city of Minot, N. Dak., experienced devastating damages with more than 4,000 homes flooded and 11,000 evacuated. As a result, the Souris River Basin Task Force recommended the U.S. Geological Survey (in cooperation with the North Dakota State Water Commission) develop a model for estimating the probabilities of future flooding and drought. The model that was developed took on four parts: (1) looking at past climate, (2) predicting future climate, (3) developing a streamflow model in response to certain climatic variables, and (4) combining future climate estimates with the streamflow model to predict future streamflow events. By taking into consideration historical climate record and trends in basin response to various climatic conditions, it was determined flood risk will remain high in the Souris River Basin until the wet climate state ends.

Publication Year 2016
Title 2011 Souris River flood—Will it happen again?
DOI 10.3133/fs20163073
Authors Rochelle A. Nustad, Kelsey A. Kolars, Aldo V. Vecchia, Karen R. Ryberg
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Fact Sheet
Series Number 2016-3073
Index ID fs20163073
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization North Dakota Water Science Center; Dakota Water Science Center