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WeatherTalk: Increased flooding has many causes

As flooding has increased in recent years, the impacts of these mitigation efforts can be seen all over.

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FARGO — When water is displaced from a location, it has to go somewhere else. When water is caused to move faster or slower, this causes water levels to increase below where it's moving faster and above where it's moving slower. This means that all flood mitigation; including draining water from agricultural fields, straightening sloughs, deepening ditches, building levees, and building diversions all move water from one location to another. In times of flood, this benefits some and harms others.

As flooding has increased across our region in recent years, the unfortunate impacts of these mitigation efforts can be seen all over. However, many people shortsightedly blame the structure nearest them as the cause of all their water problems when, in fact, a holistic overview would make more sense. It is also critical to the discussion that average annual precipitation around eastern North Dakota and western Minnesota has increased around 20% since before the early 1990s.

Related Topics: WEATHER
John Wheeler is Chief Meteorologist for WDAY, a position he has had since May of 1985. Wheeler grew up in the South, in Louisiana and Alabama, and cites his family's move to the Midwest as important to developing his fascination with weather and climate. Wheeler lived in Wisconsin and Iowa as a teenager. He attended Iowa State University and achieved a B.S. degree in Meteorology in 1984. Wheeler worked about a year at WOI-TV in central Iowa before moving to Fargo and WDAY..
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