U.S. Floods a Sign of Things to Come


Reprint of article originally published on 3/21/08 forecasting current floods

Cross-posted on Reuters, USA Today, FoxNews, IBS, Atlanta Journal-Constitution

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has issued a report that states the flooding we're seeing in the U.S. heartland is a sign of things to come.
Major floods striking America’s heartland this week offer a preview of the spring seasonal outlook, according to NOAA’s National Weather Service. Several factors will contribute to above-average flood conditions, including record rainfall in some states and snow packs, which are melting and causing rivers and streams to crest over their banks. This week, more than 250 communities in a dozen states are experiencing flood conditions.
“We expect rains and melting snow to bring more flooding this spring,” said Vickie Nadolski, deputy director of NOAA’s National Weather Service. “Americans should be on high alert to flood conditions in your communities. Arm yourselves with information about how to stay safe during a flood and do not attempt to drive on flooded roadways – remember to always turn around, don’t drown.”

The heavy precipitation may be related to the La Nina effect, as reported by the British
Met(eorological) Office in this report. NOAA gives these reasons for the flood conditions:
  1. Above-normal flood potential is evident in much of the Mississippi River basin, the Ohio River basin, the lower Missouri River basin, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, most of New York, all of New England, and portions of the West, including Colorado and Idaho.

  2. Heavy winter snow combined with recent rain indicates parts of Wisconsin and Illinois should see minor to moderate flooding, with as much as a 20 to 30 percent chance of major flooding on some rivers in southern Wisconsin and northern Illinois.

  3. Current snow depth in some areas of upstate New York and New England is more than a foot greater than usual for this time of the year, which increases flood potential in the Connecticut River Valley.

  4. Locations in the mountains of Colorado and Idaho have 150 to 200 percent of average water contained in snowpack leading to a higher than normal flood potential.

NOAA has also updated their Spring Drought Outlook with the following...