Dakotas blizzard adds to extreme spring flooding risk

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:13 AM GMT on February 21, 2011

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Heavy snows in excess of six inches have piled up over much of South Dakota, North Dakota, Montana, Wisconsin, and Minnesota today, with a storm maximum of 16 inches reported at Midland, South Dakota. This is bad news for residents in flood-prone areas of the Upper Midwest, as the new storm has added more than another half inch of melted rainfall equivalent to a snowpack that already had a record water content. When all that snow melts in late March, we can expect another spring of major and possibly record flooding for North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, or the Upper Mississippi River north of St. Louis, according to the National Weather Service (NWS). Their February Spring Flood Outlook released last week warned: "Heavy autumn rains and above average water content in the snow pack throughout the North Central U.S. have produced a high risk of moderate and major flooding for the Spring of 2011. Areas of greatest concern include the Red River of the North in North Dakota and Minnesota, Devils Lake in North Dakota, the James River and Big Sioux River in South Dakota, and areas along the Upper Mississippi River including Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois and Missouri.

Heavy late summer and autumn precipitation (twice the normal amount since October in parts of North Dakota and Minnesota) have soils saturated and streams running high before the winter freeze-up. Another winter of above average snowfall has added water to the snow pack on top of the frozen saturated soils in the North Central US. NWS models show this snowpack containing a water content ranked in the 90 to 100 percentile when compared to a 60 year average. These factors have combined to create some of the highest soil moisture contents of the last century. "



Figure 1. North Central U.S. flood risk. Image credit: NWS. The outlook will be updated on February 24, and a final outlook issued March 17.

There is a huge amount of snow on the ground in North Dakota along the tributaries of the Red River, thanks to fall precipitation that was 150% - 300% of normal, and winter snows that have dumped up to 400% more precipitation than usual. If one were to melt this snow, it would amount to 4 - 5 inches of rain. If heavy rains occur at the same time that the snow melts, there is the potential for the greatest flood in history to affect the cities of Fargo and Grand Forks, the largest and third largest cities in North Dakota. NWS is giving a 20% chance that Fargo will see its greatest flood in history, and a 10% chance for Grand Forks.

The situation is similar in Minnesota, which has received about double its normal precipitation over the past 3 to 4 months. Snow depths are generally around 18 inches in the Upper Mississippi watershed, with a high water content. If one were to melt this snow, it would amount to 3.5 - 5.5 inches of rain, which ranks among the wettest snow packs in the 60-year record. NWS is giving a 15% chance that St. Paul will see its highest flood in history this spring.

In South Dakota, heavy snows this winter have also left a snowpack with a high water content, and NWS is predicting a 30% chance that the the James River at Huron, SD and the Big Sioux River at Brookings, SD will reach their highest flood heights in history.


Figure 2. The snow water equivalent of the Upper Midwest's snowpack as of February 18, 2011. Large sections of Minnesota and North Dakota have the equivalent of 3.9 - 5.9 inches of rain (purple colors) stored in their snowpack. Image credit: NWS/NOHRSC.

When will all this flooding occur? Generally, late March through mid-April is the time when the big spring melt occurs. The record 2009 Red River flood peaked on March 28 in Fargo. The great 1997 Red River flood that devastated Grand Forks, causing $3.5 billion in damage, crested on April 18. St. Paul's greatest flood in history crested on April 19, 1965.

I'll have a new post Tuesday or Wednesday.

Jeff Masters

Blinding snowstorm hits Detroit area (MichiganSnowLvr)
The Detroit area was hit with a blinding snowstorm this afternoon and evening, with near zero visibility and thunder/lightning, as the snowfall piles up quickly and deeply.
Blinding snowstorm hits Detroit area

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Re: post #2, KOTG:

One of the reasons why anti-GW protests are so strong amongst the "drill, baby, drill" crowd is that there's no money in renewables for them. Energy costs would plummet if everyone switched to renewable energy sources. Basically BP and the other Big Energy companies would be out of business. So they are trying to milk the cash cow as much as possible before the udders dry up....
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Quoting sunlinepr:


Perfect.... You can play with the different embeded sizes...

Yup, and thanks again
Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 19 Comments: 4358
Quoting Neapolitan:

And there they were, right on schedule. ;-) The thing is, when the scientists at the NWS's Hydrologic Information Center uses phrases like "some of the highest soil moisture contents of the last century" and "could see levels approach the record levels" and "exceeding the record" and "snow water equivalents ranking among the wettest on record" and "Very high potential for widespread major flooding in Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota", I get the feeling they're not just talking about garden-variety 5- to 10-year events in always flood-prone areas.

The times, they are a-changin'...

99 days, 20 hours, and 48 minutes until hurricane season officially starts...


I know the solution!! More levees and flood walls. How about additional asphalt and concrete? Pave that flood plain over and throw up some condos next to the river, I'm sure nothing bad will happen.
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Quoting TomTaylor:





edit: YES, it works! thanks for showing me that, didn't realize you take the embed code from the youtube video itself.


Perfect.... You can play with the different embeded sizes...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting sunlinepr:


Every Youtube video has some buttons underneath them. Like/Add to/Share/Embed

Click on Embed

The embeded code will appear... with a copule of checkmark boxes
Before copying it click on Use old embed code and select the size you want to embed... I usually use the 480x390
Select the size by clicking on it; that will update the embed code

Finally, select the embeded code, copy and paste to the blog (directly)

Hope this helps...





edit: YES, it works! thanks for showing me that, didn't realize you take the embed code from the youtube video itself.
Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 19 Comments: 4358
Quoting TomTaylor:


I still don't get it. Sorry Pat, your directions are a little vague to me

Somebody please, if I want to embed a youtube video in a post, how do I do it?


Every Youtube video has some buttons underneath them. Like/Add to/Share/Embed

Click on Embed

The embeded code will appear... with a couple of checkmark boxes
Before copying it -
-click on Use old embed code and select the size you want to embed... I usually use the 480x390
Select the size by clicking on it; that will update the embed code

Finally, select the embeded code, copy and paste to the blog (directly)

Hope this helps...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Patrap:
Use the LINK button to link one in using the YouTube Top page URL.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S7D65IomNYY

To Embed one,,use the old embed code and past directly in the comment box,bypassing all buttons.




Use the preview Button to check it and then Post comment.

Easy as cake,..er, Pie


I still don't get it. Sorry Pat, your directions are a little vague to me, maybe its because I don't know the old embed code?

Somebody please, if I want to embed a youtube video in a post, how do I do it?
Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 19 Comments: 4358
Quoting cat5hurricane:

VERY nicely said.


Yeah. And if you don't think about it makes even more sense.
Member Since: October 31, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 1655
The World’s Oldest Water? Link

ScienceDaily (Feb. 19, 2011) — New evidence bolsters the notion that deep saline groundwaters in South Africa's Witwatersrand Basin may have remained isolated for many thousands, perhaps even millions, of years.
The study, recently accepted for publication in Chemical Geology, found the noble gas neon dissolved in water in three-kilometre deep crevices.
The unusual neon profile, along with the high salinities and some other unique chemical signatures, is very different from anything seen in molten fluid and gases rising from beneath Earth's crust, according to University of Toronto professor Barbara Sherwood Lollar, who is the Canadian member of the international team that produced the results.
"The chemical signatures also don't match those of ocean water or waters higher up in the Witwatersrand Basin, where as in most regions of the crust ground waters show evidence of mixing with surface waters and are extensively colonized by microorganisms," she said. "We concluded that the deeper waters were the product of isolation and extensive chemical interaction between water and rock over incredibly long geological time scales."
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Intresting blog Doc.Theirs nothing to stay around here for tonight.Ah good night.
Member Since: August 14, 2010 Posts: 10 Comments: 17806
18, ??????

Dude! out>>>

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Oss & KOG. check your mail and tell me if that works??
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26516
Mars rovers, Spirit and Opportunity will have another companion in Mars... Curiosity

Advanced NASA Instrument Gets Close-Up on Mars Rocks

ScienceDaily (Feb. 20, 2011) %u2014 NASA's Mars Science Laboratory rover, Curiosity, will carry a next generation, onboard "chemical element reader" to measure the chemical ingredients in Martian rocks and soil. The instrument is one of 10 that will help the rover in its upcoming mission to determine the past and present habitability of a specific area on the Red Planet. Launch is scheduled between Nov. 25 and Dec. 18, 2011, with landing in August 2012....

Link
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Quoting RecordSeason:
The global costs of extreme weather events shot up from less than five billion dollars a year during the 1950s to 45 billion dollars a year during the 1990s, according to Munich Re, a major reinsurance company in Germany. Not all of this increase is due to climate change. Some is due to population and infrastructure growth and better disaster reporting. However, the number of significant floods has tripled in the past 30 years.


Considering world population in 1950 was around 2.5 billion, and considering inflation since then has been several hundred percent for most things you can think of, and considering "standard of living" has also improved, there was probably less actual damage done in the past few decades than in the past.

45 billion is not that much more than 5 billion when you consider a movie ticket at that time cost 25 cents, a house maybe 15000, and gasoline was a few cents per gallon.


There were 2.33 times as many people in the 90's vs the 50's, and stuff cost many times as much in dollars, and people have more stuff.

Now costs are 10 to 50 times as much in the 20-teens, and there are 2.66, nearing 3 times, as many as the 1950's.

So.

number people multiplied by inflation in 40 years

2.33... * 4.80102 = 11.2

45/5 = 9


So you would have expected the damages to go up 11 times due to population and inflation if no change had happened in weather at all.

Instead the damage went up just 9 times, and does not even reflect the anticipated increase due to inflation and population increases.


No AGW to blame.

The damage levels actually decreased once you adjust for population, inflation, and standard of living. Then, they had one automobile if they were lucky, and one television if they were really lucky, and nobody had computers except the military. Nasa didn't exist.

Now every family has two cars and a 3 or 4 bedroom/2 bath house, 2 computers, 3 television, etc.

That 5 billion is already adjusted for inflation, you just adjusted it twice.
Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 19 Comments: 4358
Quoting Patrap:
Sen. Inhofe R Oklahoma

Legislation - Committee Assignments

* Standing Committee on Armed Services
website: http://armed-services.senate.gov/
- Subcommittee on Airland
- Subcommittee on Readiness and Management Support
- Subcommittee on Strategic Forces

* Standing Committee on Environment and Public Works (Ranking Member)
website: http://epw.senate.gov/


- Subcommittee on Clean Air, Climate Change, and Nuclear Safety
- Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife, and Water
- Subcommittee on Superfund and Waste Management
- Subcommittee on Transportation and Infrastructure





Ignorance is best kept in a mayo jar on Funk and Wagner's porch.

Posting it here only shows it it Globally.

The Science Bus debate on the Warming and causation left the terminal a decade ago.

If you missed it,,well,Im sure the Trolley of Sen. Inhofe and others has a few seats left.


Are you really sure you want to post that video? Did ya watch it? Ain't no trolleys in it...or SEIU!~

Thanks WPB, the vids were a welcome change :)

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
------
Member Since: September 10, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 11539
Quoting JFLORIDA:
4. I think more intense systems produce those kind of events.


Thundersnow, also known as a winter thunderstorm or a thunder snowstorm, is a relatively rare kind of thunderstorm with snow falling as the primary precipitation instead of rain. It typically falls in regions of strong upward motion within the cold sector of an extratropical cyclone, where the precipitation consists of ice pellets rather than snow. Thermodynamically, it is not different from any other type of thunderstorms but the top of the cumulonimbus are usually quite low.


Rare? It used to be rare. I remember two instances of it growing up, but now we get it a couple times winter.

It's very pretty and the snow is crazy intense. If you go outside it sounds like it's sizzling.

The cumulonimbus clouds in winter have a lower top due to a lower tropopause. The tropopause increases or decreases with temperature, so in winter it is usually at it's lowest point.
Member Since: October 31, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 1655
Sen. Inhofe R Oklahoma

Legislation - Committee Assignments

* Standing Committee on Armed Services
website: http://armed-services.senate.gov/
- Subcommittee on Airland
- Subcommittee on Readiness and Management Support
- Subcommittee on Strategic Forces

* Standing Committee on Environment and Public Works (Ranking Member)
website: http://epw.senate.gov/


- Subcommittee on Clean Air, Climate Change, and Nuclear Safety
- Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife, and Water
- Subcommittee on Superfund and Waste Management
- Subcommittee on Transportation and Infrastructure





Ignorance is best kept in a mayo jar on Funk and Wagner's porch.

Posting it here only shows it it Globally.

The Science Bus debate on the Warming and causation left the terminal a decade ago.

If you missed it,,well,Im sure the Trolley of Sen. Inhofe and others has a few seats left.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129833
Quoting jwh250:

????
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Member Since: September 10, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 11539
Quoting RecordSeason:
The global costs of extreme weather events shot up from less than five billion dollars a year during the 1950s to 45 billion dollars a year during the 1990s, according to Munich Re, a major reinsurance company in Germany. Not all of this increase is due to climate change. Some is due to population and infrastructure growth and better disaster reporting. However, the number of significant floods has tripled in the past 30 years.


Considering world population in 1950 was around 2.5 billion, and considering inflation since then has been several hundred percent for most things you can think of, and considering "standard of living" has also improved, there was probably less actual damage done in the past few decades than in the past.

45 billion is not that much more than 5 billion when you consider a movie ticket at that time cost 25 cents, a house maybe 15000, and gasoline was a few cents per gallon.


There were 2.33 times as many people in the 90's vs the 50's, and stuff cost many times as much in dollars, and people have more stuff.

Now costs are 10 to 50 times as much in the 20-teens, and there are 2.66, nearing 3 times, as many as the 1950's.

So.

number people multiplied by inflation in 40 years

2.33... * 4.80102 = 11.2

45/5 = 9


So you would have expected the damages to go up 11 times due to population and inflation if no change had happened in weather at all.

Instead the damage went up just 9 times, and does not even reflect the anticipated increase due to inflation and population increases.


No AGW to blame.

The damage levels actually decreased once you adjust for population, inflation, and standard of living. Then, they had one automobile if they were lucky, and one television if they were really lucky, and nobody had computers except the military. Nasa didn't exist.

Now every family has two cars and a 3 or 4 bedroom/2 bath house, 2 computers, 3 television, etc.

That would be great--but Munich Re's 5 billion/45 billion comparison is in inflation-adjusted dollars. So your statement that "45 billion is not that much more than 5 billion" is mathematically incorrect, given that 45 billion is roughly nine times greater than 5 billion, at least according to my calculator.

AGW almost certainly involved.
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13797
Partrap Im still a little confused, so I got this url for the vid...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vM_10MzkX6k

now I click the "Link" button and put it in there, and then what happens?
Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 19 Comments: 4358
Quoting weatherboy1992:
Neapolitan even if we 3 or 4 100-year flood events on the Mississippi this year the deniers will just say it's proof that scientists don't know what they are talking about and that flood frequency models are all wrong.

And there they were, right on schedule. ;-) The thing is, when the scientists at the NWS's Hydrologic Information Center uses phrases like "some of the highest soil moisture contents of the last century" and "could see levels approach the record levels" and "exceeding the record" and "snow water equivalents ranking among the wettest on record" and "Very high potential for widespread major flooding in Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota", I get the feeling they're not just talking about garden-variety 5- to 10-year events in always flood-prone areas.

The times, they are a-changin'...

99 days, 20 hours, and 48 minutes until hurricane season officially starts...
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13797
Quoting jwh250:
you have been in the cabin way to long
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 178 Comments: 56021
Well fortunately the Corps of engineers Know when to Open the Spillway sport ,,as its not as easy a thing to do,,as a certain level must be reached before that occurs.

Spillways are also above Baton Rouge if ya care to maybe search Mississippi River Flood controls/COE on da GOOGLE thing a ma Bob.


Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129833
The Bonnet Carré Spillway is a flood control operation in the Lower Mississippi Valley. Located in St. Charles Parish, Louisiana - about 12 miles (19 km) west of New Orleans - it allows floodwaters from the Mississippi River to flow into Lake Pontchartrain and thence into the Gulf of Mexico.


Opening of the Bonnet Carre' Spillway on 1997-03-17. The spillway was operational from March 17 to April 18, 1997 -- operating at a maximum flow of 243,000 cu ft/s (6,900 m3/s).
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129833


The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers opens the Bonnet Carre Spillway north of New Orleans April 11, 2008.



Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129833
Quoting weatherboy1992:
I like the blog better without youtube vids clogging it up and wasting time. But that's just me.


Youtubes dont slow down,nor clog the blog in ANY way.

And one can "Hide" any post by using the HIDE Button on every comment save for your own.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129833
Use the LINK button to link one in using the YouTube Top page URL.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S7D65IomNYY

To Embed one,,use the old embed code and past directly in the comment box,bypassing all buttons.




Use the preview Button to check it and then Post comment.

Easy as cake,..er, Pie
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129833
Could someone please teach me how to get youtube videos on this blog.
Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 19 Comments: 4358

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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

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