Friday, February 19, 2010

Spring Flooding

The big weather story today is the updated flood outlooks for the rivers that flow throughout Minnesota from the National Weather Service in Chanhassen. The real concern is the Red River that separates Minnesota and the Dakotas. As with past years, the Fargo and Grand Forks areas see the biggest blunt of the flooding. Flooding is a regular occurrence in this part of the country, but the severity varies every year due to differences in snow melt rates and the total snow depth.

According to the NWS, there is about a 75-80 % chance of major flooding along the Red River at East Grand Forks:

Focus your attention on the CS - the black line with triangles. CS is the estimate based on current conditions, whereas HS uses historical data to plot estimates.

Major flooding in Fargo is pretty much a guarantee sadly for area residents:

Closer to home, the NWS in Chanhassen has provided updated information on the flood outlook in the Twin Cities. If you live along one of the large rivers, you may want to take note at the likelihood of at least moderate to major flooding expected in most areas.

The flooding probabilties will likely change as we get closer to the Spring thaw. After reading the information above you may be in a state of panic, but remember that temperatures and amount of precipitation and type (rain will cause a fast snow melt) will have a big influence on flooding. In the southwest corner of Minnesota, we have 15-20 inches of snow on the ground.

If this area receives significantly more snow this winter, we could be dealing with a serious issue when this snow melt travels upstream. As spring arrives, the southern part of the state warms up faster than the rest of the state, so this could dictate an earlier flooding event. It's been a rather odd Minnesota winter in that the southern part of the state has more snow than the north.

Temperatures are predicted to remain at around normal for the next month for most of the region with some above average temperatures around Lake Superior.

This is definitely good news as we will see normal melt going into March. Above average temps would be a receipe for disaster considering this area will likely see more snow before the winter ends.

GFS forecast models are hinting at 2-4 inches of snow for the southeast part of Minnesota during the next five days, but fortunately it's away from areas that don't need the snow:

The next flood outlook will be issued at the beginning of March. This will be one for sure to watch, especially for interests along the Mississippi, Minnesota, and Red Rivers.

No comments:

Post a Comment