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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wow. see pictures of the asphalt road. incredible urban damage
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Called my friend this morning, she lives 200 metres from the epicentre in Lyttleton. 'Luckily' she was in Christchurch during the day, her home is destroyed as is her workplace. Almost total devastation...
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I just heard an interview with this woman on CNN. She is still trapped. One of the most chilling things I have ever heard.

Anne Vos
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It's been raining a lot in Trini recently... isn't that rather unusual in Feb?

Also, latest reports are suggesting that casualties in the NZ earthquake may be less than 65....

Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 22101
454. DDR
Copious amounts of rain since yesterday evening
3 inches at my location in north Trinidad,this trough is strange one.
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Just before i go to bed, here is 1 last link,,, it shows before and after photos of places in Christchurch.
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Quoting ShenValleyFlyFish:
1st rule of statistics: correlation does not imply causality


Isn't statistics one of those math thingys? Not my strong suit. :)

I was thinking more of number 1. ;)

cor·re·la·tion
   /ˌkɔrəˈleɪʃən, ˌkɒr-/ Show Spelled[kawr-uh-ley-shuhn, kor-] Show IPA
–noun
1.
mutual relation of two or more things, parts, etc.
2.
the act of correlating or state of being correlated.
3.
Statistics . the degree to which two or more attributes or measurements on the same group of elements show a tendency to vary together.
4.
Physiology . the interdependence or reciprocal relations of organs or functions.
5.
Geology . the demonstrable equivalence, in age or lithology, of two or more stratigraphic units, as formations or members of such.
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Quoting PcolaDan:
Interesting! A correlation?

1st rule of statistics: correlation does not imply causality
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Interesting! A correlation?

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.."Good Night,Sleep tight"..
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 424 Comments: 128279
“The magnitude 6.3 earthquake that devastated Christchurch was strong enough to shake 30 million tonnes of ice loose from Tasman Glacier at Aoraki Mt Cook National Park.”

whole article

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_i d=1&objectid=10708071
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prayers to all the people there, aussie...I have been praying real hard

sleep dreamlessly
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i'm off to bed, been a mentally tiring day.
Stay safe all. Say a pray for people of Christchurch and Libya.
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Here's a link to a Google Street View image from Christchurch's CBD showing the five-story Pyne Gould Guiness building that collapsed with dozens inside (latest word is that at least 30 are trapped in the rubble):

http://maps.google.com/?ie=UTF8&ll=-43.526709,172 .638903&spn=0.023057,0.055747&z=15&layer=c&cbll=-4 3.527704,172.639638&panoid=7EaWFp_ToMkgMx_sBIIR0A& cbp=12,294.8,,0,-8.23
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13531

Complete Update





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New Zealand's Prime Minister has confirmed 65 people have died, following a powerful earthquake in the city of Christchurch. That number's expected to rise significantly. The magnitude 6-point-3 quake struck just after midday, causing busy office buildings to crash down in the bustling city center. Cries for help could be heard from beneath the rubble, during a desperate scramble for survivors. Rescue crews from across New Zealand and Australia are at the disaster site, where a state of emergency has been declared.


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This is an audio link to an interview of a plane passenger that Landed at Christchurch Airport during the quake.
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ReliefWEB

Deadly quake rocks New Zealand city, topples buildings

Source: Reuters - AlertNet

Date: 22 Feb 2011


* New Zealand braces for possible mass casualties

* City hit a second time by quake

* Buildings collapsed, reports of people trapped (Adds details)

By Gyles Beckford

WELLINGTON, Feb 22 (Reuters) - A strong earthquake killed and trapped people beneath rubble and sparked fires and toppled buildings in New Zealand's second-biggest city of Christchurch on Tuesday.

Read the full article on Reuters - AlertNet.

For more humanitarian news and analysis, please visit www.trust.org/alertnet
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 424 Comments: 128279
Thanks aussie,..will pass along thru the other social networks.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 424 Comments: 128279
Here is a link to ABC News 24(LIVE), no geo block
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Tuesday Communique No. 1


Global Climate Change Indicators
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
National Climatic Data Center


Many lines of scientific evidence show the Earth's climate is changing. This page presents the latest information from several independent measures of observed climate change that illustrate an overwhelmingly compelling story of a planet that is undergoing global warming. It is worth noting that increasing global temperature is only one element of observed global climate change. Precipitation patterns are also changing; storms and other extremes are changing as well.
How do we know the Earth's climate is warming?

Thousands of land and ocean temperature measurements are recorded each day around the globe. This includes measurements from climate reference stations, weather stations, ships, buoys and autonomous gliders in the oceans. These surface measurements are also supplemented with satellite measurements. These measurements are processed, examined for random and systematic errors, and then finally combined to produce a time series of global average temperature change. A number of agencies around the world have produced datasets of global-scale changes in surface temperature using different techniques to process the data and remove measurement errors that could lead to false interpretations of temperature trends.

The warming trend that is apparent in all of the independent methods of calculating global temperature change is also confirmed by other independent observations, such as the melting of mountain glaciers on every continent, reductions in the extent of snow cover, earlier blooming of plants in spring, a shorter ice season on lakes and rivers, ocean heat content, reduced arctic sea ice, and rising sea levels.

Dat be NOAA

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 424 Comments: 128279
FULL COVERAGE: http://tvnz.co.nz/news - A Magnitude 6.3 Earthquake has hit Christchurch, New Zealand, at a depth of 5 km and centred 10 km south-east of the city. There are reports of major damage to buildings and infrastructure.

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 424 Comments: 128279
Quoting cat5hurricane:

Couldn't of said it better myself, Jed.


Tell us something we don't know...
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Evening all. Just to let you know, Australia has sent search and rescue crews to Christchurch. They should be on the ground now and hopefully they are able to help in the search for survivors. There is reports of an Australian woman trapped in the Pyne Gould Corporation Building, the building seen on news that has pancaked.
Speaking via her mobile phone to the Seven Network, Mrs Voss said she was now stuck in "a building I thought would never collapse", though "today was the big one".

"I was sitting at my desk, and I went under my desk and the ceiling collapsed on top of the desk," Mrs Voss said.

"So I'm sort of squashed underneath. I haven't been able to move really."

Mrs Voss said she had been stuck for several hours in the dark and with an injured hand - how bad she could not yet tell. "No, I'm not sure, I'm bleeding," Mrs Voss said when asked if she was OK.
120 people have been pulled alive from rubble alive, 100 people are believed to be still trapped, death toll so far 65.

Click for more
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Quoting aquak9:


jedkins, that post had no value, you're just really MEAN sometimes, and being MEAN has no value, either.

Sarcasm does nothing, when you are trying to communicate sensibly, or solve a problem. Neither does name-calling, or disrespect.

I see many of your typewritten posts, as you simply being rude, mean, or sarcastic, and using those literary flavors to enhance your words.

It doesn't work, young man. We see you as an ANGRY young man, not an INTELLIGENT one.

Prayers in for Christchurch, all of NZ, and all the humans in that area of the world.
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LOL,,Im gonna save dat un.

For the archives.

And the Rapture.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 424 Comments: 128279
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 171 Comments: 53835
sainthurrifan- I am touched beyond words

thank you for the response

you're raising them boys right

Peace my friend
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Quoting HurricaneSwirl:
Joe Bastardi left Accuweather: Link

Wow, didn't see that coming.

failed forecast all the way back to gilbert making landfall in northern texas new zealand? if i lived in calif. (shaken) or florida (blowing) i'd be prepared for a major disaster
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aquak good morning. I rarely post on here anymore or for that matter rarely look at any of the posts on here.It seems to me the new people who have taken over this blog have thier opinion and everyone else is wrong lol.Well you know what Iam just a dum ole country boy who makes many mistakes, and is wrong more than right. I will say I have no ego prblem , which many on here seem to have.I really think a lot of these people have to be either young, retired, or have no hobbies or personal responsibilities as much time they spend bickering on a weather blog.I now see some bloggers state if a scientist said it he is absolutely right if it supports thier view.But if not he is a moron or misinformed.That is pretty childish in my book.As far as the people on here always wanting to help others overseas bravo.A lot of them are true christians and fine examples of humanity:but thier are some who talk about helping out and raising money but then on this blog if someone has a different view of thier ideas they attack and are hostile and crude.Well those in my book are the ones Jesus spoke of beware of the pharrisees and hypocrites they will be judged the harshest.I personally can own up that im hardheaded and a butthole but I refuse to be a hyprocrite.As far as jedkin: well i have heard him profess that he is a christian ? Well christians dont attack people just because they are one sided and arrogant.It makes you no better and you will never be a fisher of men.Label me old school at 46 and raising 2 boys.But my dad as a ww2 veteran and my mom raised me to put God, family, and country of ahead of anything else.Seems like today its personal beliefs, wants, and arrogance and entertainment comes first.And remember science is always developed by man and god only lets us get as smart as he choose then he lets our arrogance do us in.In closing to this ramble it would nice to see this country more open minded in a lot of the political views and other important factors.This weather blog would be a nice start.Have a blessed day.
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I'm gone. See you guys later today. I'm pretty sure the doc will have a new blog...
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 22101
Link to most recent update page post-earthquake
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g'morning nea

I wonder, do they drink coffee in NZ? when I poured mine this morning, messy kitchen, milk in fridge, I thought of all the simple things, we do not appreciate...that can be lost in a shake of a tectonic lamb's tail.

Aussie gave some good live links to abc news from the area last night, it's been tearjerking

I saw the anchor lady start to cry, then they went to another anchor
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Joe Bastardi left Accuweather: Link

Wow, didn't see that coming.

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Quoting BahaHurican:
Morning all. Death toll at Christchurch at 65 confirmed, but expected to rise to as high as 400 in the area. A lot of people still seem to be trapped in various buildings.
And this report: 10.01pm %u2013 There are reports from Cashmere that some houses in the lower area of the suburb have been broken into and burgled. simply proves that humanity is humanity everywhere. I recall international reporters being "shocked" that there was so little looting immediately after last year's earthquake in Haiti. I was just waiting to see how long it would take for the lowlifes of Christchurch to rear their heads.... I knew it was just a matter of time.

In wx related news, it seems TC Utu is still slowly making its way southward...

It was a bad one, likely New Zealand's worst in modern times so far as the death toll is concerned. In the port town of Lyttelton (which sits inside one of the two ancient volcanoes on Banks Peninsula), it's said 60% of all structures have collapsed.

This video isn't great, but it gives you an idea of what the experience was like for one NZ resident.



EDIT: see we cross-posted; good morning, aqua...
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13531
Quoting Jedkins01:
More GW B.S. on the blogs again, you GW fanatics have no life, that makes sense though. I pity the day when science turns on man made GW bringing an end to mankind. What a sobering day that will be for you silly people won't it?



jedkins, that post had no value, you're just really MEAN sometimes, and being MEAN has no value, either.

Sarcasm does nothing, when you are trying to communicate sensibly, or solve a problem. Neither does name-calling, or disrespect.

I see many of your typewritten posts, as you simply being rude, mean, or sarcastic, and using those literary flavors to enhance your words.

It doesn't work, young man. We see you as an ANGRY young man, not an INTELLIGENT one.

Prayers in for Christchurch, all of NZ, and all the humans in that area of the world.
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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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