U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)

The Scientific Story of the Souris: Could the 2011 Flood Happen Again?


Courtesy of Courtesy of U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)

If the current wet climate state of the Souris River Basin continues during the next 10 years, there is a 2 percent chance another extreme flood, similar to that of 2011, will occur, according to a recent report by the U.S. Geological Survey and North Dakota State Water Commission.

These and other findings about past and future flooding of the Souris are available in an interactive webpage called the Souris River Story Map, which was developed by the USGS, the North Dakota State Water Commission and the International Joint Commission of Canada and the U.S. Much like a storybook, the Story Map allows users to page through key elements of the recent report while linking to supporting materials along the way.

“The Souris River Story Map can help citizens and local managers better prepare for future hazardous flooding along the Souris River,” said Aldo Vecchia, a USGS scientist and coauthor of the report. “Preparation can help protect public safety and property.”

As users page through the website, they can learn how the scientists used tree rings and statistics to predict future flooding events and reconstruct past climates.

“One particularly unique aspect of this Story Map is that it allows users to interact with a map of the Souris River Basin, zooming in and out to select reservoirs and USGS streamgaging stations,” said Tim Fay, a hydrologist with the North Dakota State Water Commission.

The Souris River Basin spans portions of North Dakota and the Canadian provinces of Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Record flooding along the Souris River in 2011 overcame reservoirs and devastated the city of Minot, North Dakota.

Findings from the recent report are further summarized in a USGS Fact Sheet. For more information about streamflow on the Souris River, please visit the USGS Streamgages in the Souris River Basin in U.S. and Canada webpage.

Image: Flooded Homes in Downtown Minot, N.D.

As the Souris River flooded during the early summer of 2011, it overcame levees in the city of Minot, N.D., causing about 11,000 people to evacuate their homes. (Dave Ozman, USGS)

Image: Scientists Measure Streamflow near Flooded Minot, N.D.

USGS scientists measure streamflow on a tributary of the Souris River in Foxholm, N.D., about 30 miles northwest of Minot. The team is using an acoustic Doppler current profiler to measure streamflow. (Marisa Lubeck, USGS)

Image: Media Covering Flooding in Downtown Minot, N.D.

The record-breaking 2011 Souris River flood crested on July 25 at over 26,000 cubic feet per second (cfs) and 24 feet - nearly 13 feet over flood stage - according to USGS streamgages in the area. (Dave Ozman, USGS)

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