The View From Above - KXNet.com - Bismarck/Minot/Williston/Dickinson-KXNEWS,ND

The View From Above

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With each day of below normal temperatures, the chances increase for a quick warm-up & a quick melt in the Souris-Mouse River Basin.

Shaun Sipma took to the air for a tour of the river system to get a first hand look at what shape the river channel is in and just how much snow is north of the border.

(Shaun Sipma, KX News) Taking off from Minot International Airport Tuesday, our course was set set for due north, following the Mouse River from just north of Burlington all the way into Canada, where its name changes to the Souris River, up to the Boundary Reservoir and Rafferty Dam near Estevan Saskatchewan.

The higher flows coming from Lake Darling and ice in the river have pushed the Mouse outside of its banks above Burlington.

Where the Foxholm River gauge sits, the river is at moderate flood stage currently at about 14.28 feet.

As the river winds north there is less ice but water is still outside the natural channel.

Here at lake Darling 2,800 cfs is pouring from the gates, helping to drop the lake's level - even as the lake itself remains locked in ice with very little thaw visible from the air, even along the shoreline.

Along the Grano Crossing and along Highway 28 only a hint of water is visible below the bridges.

At Mouse River Park, we can see the water covering the paved road on the west side as river backup is pushing levels higher here.

The farther north we fly, the more snow it seems is filling ravines, coulees and farmland.

This was a familiar sight as well, spring calving pens near the river being invading by rising river levels as we saw in our story from Tuesday.

Into Canada across the International Border, the river began to open up due largely in-part to our approach to the three main flood control dams.

The first Alameda near the town of Oxbow, because of time we skimmed by the lake to the south and headed straight to Boundary and Rafferty.

With the large coal mining presence near Estevan, this area was the only area that looked like snow had been cleared.

At Boundary where the water is used as a cooling reservoir for a power plant the releases are small and the water is ice free at least in proximity to the Plant.

Nearby at Rafferty, much like Darling water is open below the dam but the lake remains frozen and the snowpack to the north deepens and shows no signs of spring.

Trying to gauge just how much snow is on the ground is extremely difficult from the air, coulees look to be holding quite a bit of snow, along with surrounding landscape but how much I could only guess.

Our return home took us along Des Lacs Lake that feeds into the Des Lacs River, one uncontrolled water shed that feeds into the Mouse River near Burlington that is typically the wild card in terms of quick flood potential if it comes at the wrong time.

The story here is much of the same, lots of snow and no melting.

What it all means is that there's lots of moisture locked up in our river basins.

The weather will dictate just how quickly the melt occurs.

The farther we get into April or even May, it could mean a quick warm-up and run-off which is why officials say they're making room in the lakes and reservoirs getting ready for that when it finally arrives.

Shaun Sipma KX News.

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