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Northwest Rivers Face Flood Threat

March 17, 1999

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Deep snowpacks in the Pacific Northwest and northern states pose a threat of spring flooding, federal forecasters warned today.

The greatest threat is along the Red River of the North, an area devastated by flooding in 1997, said Frank Richards of the National Weather Service.

But he added that this year’s forecast for a flood stage several feet short of the deadly inundation two years ago. The primary threat area is from Grand Forks, N.D., north and the Devils Lake area, Richards said at the government’s annual spring flood forecast.

Idaho, Oregon and Montana also face potential flooding from the heavy snowpacks that have accumulated.

If spring warmth comes gradually the danger will be less, Richards said, but continuing cold weather followed by a sudden warmup would pose a danger.

National Weather Service director John J. Kelly stressed that the potential for flooding is not limited to the northern snow states, however, but can occur anywhere in the event of sudden, heavy rains.

``Floods will occur this year in this nation,″ Kelly said. ``Now is the time to be thinking about what to do when the warning comes.″

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