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North Dakota could see major, near-record flooding this spring

Record flooding is possible.

Get ready North Dakota, you could see some record flooding this spring.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released its spring outlook Thursday, saying northern North Dakota – including areas around the Souris River, Devils Lake and the northern Red River – has the "greatest risk of major flooding this spring."

Flooding is expected to be bad this year because there's more snow on the ground than average. NOAA says the snowpack contains up to 4 inches of liquid (and that could get higher if there are any more storms).

If the warm-up that melts all of it comes at the same time as spring rain, it could mean the soil – already saturated with water – won't be able to soak up the liquid, Tom Graziano of NOAA said.

This map shows where the worst of the flooding is expected to be:

See the purple and red on that map? That's the area forecasters are most concerned about. It includes Devils Lake, North Dakota, which is about 90 miles west of Grand Forks.

That area could see near-record runoff, which would cause the lake to rise 3-4 feet.

If that happens, it could exceed the record-high flood level set in June 2011. That year, flooding did more than $1.4 billion in damage in North Dakota, swamping 4,100 homes and businesses in the city of Minot alone, according to a state report.

As for Minnesota, the northwestern corner of the state along the Red River could see moderate flooding. NOAA says the rest of the state could see minor flooding.

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