Spring Flooding: ‘Almost Half the Country’ at Risk

Mar 17, 2011 3:25pm

After a rugged winter, the National Weather Service has put out a long-term forecast for a rugged spring as snow melts and rivers swell, especially in the Upper Midwest and parts of the Northeast near New York City.

"Almost half the country — from the North Central U.S. through the Midwest and the Northeast — has an above-average risk of flooding over the next few weeks," said the Weather Service in its quarterly outlook.  Take a look at their summary HERE and click on their map below to enlarge:

"The highest spring flood risk areas include the Red River of the North, which forms the state line between eastern North Dakota and northwest Minnesota, the Milk River in eastern Montana, the James and Big Sioux Rivers in South Dakota, the Minnesota River, the upper Mississippi River basin from Minneapolis southward to St. Louis, and a portion of lower New York, eastern Pennsylvania and northern New Jersey," said the Weather Service.

"Many metropolitan areas have a greater than 95 percent chance of major flooding, including Fargo, Grand Forks, St. Paul, Davenport, Rock Island, Sioux Falls and Huron. Devils Lake in North Dakota has an 80 percent chance of reaching two feet above last year’s record of 1452.1 feet."

The flooding projections are mostly based on melting snowpack and likely spring rains.  But some of the flooding risk can be blamed on rains as long ago as last summer, when heavy rains saturated the ground before the winter freeze.  The Weather Service says the snowpack in the north-central U.S. is "among the highest of the last 60 years."

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