NOAA has issued a new spring flood outlook, illustrating parts of the country that could be facing flood issues this spring due to forecast weather patterns or the presence of significant snowpack which will melt in the coming weeks and months.
According to NOAA, there is a risk for flooding in most of the eastern half of the continental United States, including most of the Mississippi River Basin. Forecasters with the National Water Center, together with the NWS River Forecast Centers, predict moderate to major flooding along the Mississippi River from Minneapolis, Minnesota, to St. Louis, Missouri.
An above normal to record snowpack in the Sierra Nevada mountains, combined with elevated soil moisture, increases the threat of spring flooding due to snowmelt, especially at high elevations.
“Approximately 44% of the U.S. is at risk for flooding this spring,” said Ed Clark, director of NOAA’s National Water Center. “California’s historic snowpack, coupled with spring rain, is heightening the potential for spring floods.”
Spring snowmelt will bring welcomed water supply benefits to much of California and the Great Basin. Reservoirs in the Colorado River Basin, such as Lake Powell and Lake Mead, are currently at record low water levels following years of drought.
Produced by the National Water Center, NOAA’s National Hydrologic Assessment evaluates current conditions of snowpack, drought, soil saturation levels, frost depth, streamflow and precipitation.
NOAA cautions that flood risk can change rapidly during the spring season and recommends that people follow their favorite, reliable source of weather information to stay informed about local flood threats this spring.