Spring snowstorm adds to flooding potential for the Midwest

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 4:52 PM GMT on March 24, 2011

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A major spring snowstorm dumped heavy snow in excess of six inches over a wide swath of the Upper Midwest this week, adding to a snowpack that is already near or in excess of record levels over Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota. This is bad news for residents in flood-prone areas of the Upper Midwest, as the new storm added more than half an inch of melted rainfall equivalent to the record wet snowpack. When all that snow melts in April, we can expect major and possibly record flooding for North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, and the Upper Mississippi River north of St. Louis, according to the National Weather Service (NWS). Their March Spring Flood Outlook released last week warned: A large swath of the North Central United States is at risk of moderate to major flooding this spring. Heavy late summer and autumn precipitation have left soils saturated and streams running high before the winter freeze-up. National Weather Service models show this year's snowpack contains a water content ranked among the highest of the last 60 years, which is similar to the past two years. This threat area extends from northeastern Montana through Wisconsin and along the Mississippi River south to St. Louis. For the third consecutive year, forecasters predict major flooding along the Red River of the North, which forms the state line between eastern North Dakota and northwest Minnesota. Other areas of the Midwest primed for major flooding include Devils Lake in North Dakota, the Milk River in Northeastern Montana, the James and Big Sioux Rivers in South Dakota, the Minnesota River, and the Mississippi River from its headwaters near St. Paul, Minnesota, downstream to St. Louis.


Figure 1. U.S. spring 2011 flood risk. Image credit: NWS.


Figure 2. NOAA's latest significant river flood outlook shows that spring flooding is already occurring over South Dakota and on the Mississippi River near its junction with the Ohio River, but is not yet widespread across the Upper Midwest.

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 - 6 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 35% chance that Fargo will see its greatest flood in history this spring, up from the 20% chance they gave in their February spring flood outlook.

The situation is similar in Minnesota, which has received about double its normal precipitation over the past 3 to 4 months, resulting in the 5th snowiest winter on record in Minneapolis. Snow depths are in excess of 20 inches over wide swaths of of the state, and this snow has a very high water content equivalent to 4 - 6 inches of rain. NWS is giving a 95% chance that the Mississippi River at St. Paul will exceed major flood stage this spring.

In South Dakota, heavy snows this winter have also left a snowpack with a high water content over the northeast corner of the state. The NWS is predicting a 25% chance that the the James River at Huron, SD will reach its highest flood height in history, and a 50% chance for the Big Sioux River at Brookings, SD.


Figure 3. The snow water equivalent of the Upper Midwest's snowpack as of March 24, 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?
The latest guidance from the GFS model predicts winter-like conditions will persist over the Upper Midwest for the next week, with no major storms for the region through early next week. Late next week, there is the potential for a snowstorm that could bring an additional 0.5 - 1" of melted equivalent snow, though this is very uncertain at this point. The first chance of a major thaw will not occur until Sunday, April 3. This will give some time for the current pulse of flood waters generated during last week's warm spell over South Dakota and southern Minnesota to move downstream, and makes the peak of this year's spring flood unlikely to occur until at least the second week of April. Looking back at past great floods in the Upper Midwest, 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 expect this year's peak flood will most likely arrive during the 3rd week of April.

Mostly offshore winds expected over Japan for the next week
Radioactive plumes emitted from Japan's troubled Fukushima nuclear power plant will mostly head eastwards out to sea over the next week, thanks to high pressure that will dominate Japan's weather. Latest trajectory plots using NOAA's HYSPLIT model do not show air from the Fukushima plant heading towards Tokyo over the next four days.

Jeff Masters

Not liking Spring (all4paws)
10 inches of snow today. Not good if you're a robin.
Not liking Spring
Spring? (jf)
Spring?
Spring?

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Keep an eye on the Cesium. Spell it as you may. . . Gnight....
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Kyodo: Over 1,000 millisieverts per hour found in water at No. 2 reactor.

That's 100 rems, or roughly equivalent to getting 55 dental X-rays every second. (Or to use the BED, the same as eating 2,777 bananas every second.)

Not good...
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Quoting Neapolitan:
Kyodo: Radioactive iodine 1,850 times limit in sea near plant; pool of highly radioactive water at Fukushima's No. 2 reactor may be from reactor core.


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another 70 DBZ storm or greater nw al
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Kyodo: Radioactive iodine 1,850 times limit in sea near plant; pool of highly radioactive water at Fukushima's No. 2 reactor may be from reactor core.
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Anyway It was a nice day today while it lasted.Went out and did some shopping.Their were alot of sales.So I shopped away.Ahhhh! the good thing about D.C isthat I could go to 6 different malls around the area.Arundel Mills,Tyson's Corner,Patomic Mills,Luarel Mall,PG mall,Wheton mall,and City place.Okay sorry about the random slice of life post.Back to the topic/weather.
Member Since: August 14, 2010 Posts: 10 Comments: 17487
989. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
Fiji Meteorological Services
Tropical Disturbance Advisory #18
SEVERE TROPICAL CYCLONE BUNE (13F)
12:00 PM FST March 27 2011
==========================================

At 0:00 AM UTC, Severe Tropical Cyclone Bune, Category Three (971 hPa) located at 24.4S 179.0E is reported as moving south southwest at 6 knots. 10 minute sustained winds near the center is 65 knots. Position fair base on hourly GMS visible/enhanced infrared radar imagery.

Hurricane Force Winds
===================
40 NM from the center

Storm Force Winds
=================
70 NM from the center

Gale Force Winds
================
150 NM from the center

TC BUNE has become more disorganized and the cloud top temperature have generally warmed around the system in the past 12-24 hours. System remains under a strong diffluent region in a low to moderate shear environment. Outflow appears to be good in most quadrant particularly in the southeast. Sea surface temperature is around 28C.

Dvorak assessment based on a curved band pattern with a 0.8 wrap on LOG10 spiral. Yielding, DT=3.5 MET=PT which is also 3.5.

Dvorak Intensity: T3.5/4.5/S0.0/24HRS.

CI maintained due to rules. Global models are maintaining the strength of the system while adopting a southeasterly track during the next 12-24 hours. BUNE is expected to undergo extratropical transition during Monday or Tuesday as the system begins to be influenced by an upper trough moving across the Tasman Sea. The system may re-intensify for a period as this transition occurs and therefore storm force winds are still possible as BUNE tracks near the Kermadec Islands during Monday night.

Forecast and Intensity
=======================
12 HRS: 25.7S 178.8E - 55 knots (CAT 2)
24 HRS: 27.4S 179.7W - 50 knots (CAT 2)
48 HRS: 31.2S 176.6W - 40 knots (CAT 1)

THIS WILL BE THE FINAL TROPICAL DISTURBANCE ADVISORY ON TROPICAL CYCLONE BUNE.
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Patiently,patiently waiting for 6.1.11.Patiently waiting.I always love putting my skills to a challenge/test.Let's see what happens this year.Also is their any one else that feels that the Western Atlantics time is up when it comes to landfalling hurricanes?.Anyway here is a
article that talks about the 2011 hurricane season.Link
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Quoting RTLSNK:


The "Canadian Sphynx" is recognized by Cat Fancy Associations as being a unique and healthy breed. One of them won the TICA International Cat of the Year Award in 2006. They are from Toronto, Canada, eh?
(Inside joke for Orca and Keeper) :)



Quoting flsky:


How can you use such a sad little creature in a joke?


Oh! The cat! I thought you were talking about Orca. :))
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There are some nasty cells beginning to brew around SE Texas, also.
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Member Since: September 2, 2007 Posts: 179 Comments: 20448



The forecast CAPE for the next 12 hours is higher in Texas! CURRENTLY for only the next 12 hours. This is somewhat deceiving since that only takes us till 10am tomorrow. The CAPE values will rise throughtout the day tomorrow!
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Quoting RTLSNK:


The "Canadian Sphynx" is recognized by Cat Fancy Associations as being a unique and healthy breed. One of them won the TICA International Cat of the Year Award in 2006. They are from Toronto, Canada, eh?
(Inside joke for Orca and Keeper) :)

It's still a sad little critter.
And it still looks like Orca.
Maybe it's a Canadian thing?

Those twisters/potential twisters look pretty bad there, Keep Safe.
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That TVS just north of Birmingham appears to have spun out. That's a good thing...
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Quoting caneswatch:


Mind telling me what it says for south Florida please?
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Quoting flsky:


How can you use such a sad little creature in a joke?


The "Canadian Sphynx" is recognized by Cat Fancy Associations as being a unique and healthy breed. One of them won the TICA International Cat of the Year Award in 2006. They are from Toronto, Canada, eh?
(Inside joke for Orca and Keeper) :)
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Quoting RastaSteve:
Guys some of the models are showing over 10" of rain in C FL by next Saturday. Amazing to see this much rain in forecast for this time of year. NWS of melbourne is saying temps aloft at 500 milibars is forecast to -12 to -14 on Monday. Basically that means C FL could see severe wx Monday with such steep lapse rates. Monday thru Wed looks to be very wet in C FL then summertime seabreeze storms on Thursday and Friday/Saturday could have flooding type rains across all of the FL Penisula.

P.S You guys in GA,AL,and SC stay safe and take cover when a warning is sounded.


Mind telling me what it says for south Florida please?
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Another Warning

Tornado Warning
SEVERE WEATHER STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE BIRMINGHAM AL
850 PM CDT SAT MAR 26 2011

ALC073-270200-
/O.CON.KBMX.TO.W.0028.000000T0000Z-110327T0200Z/
JEFFERSON AL-
850 PM CDT SAT MAR 26 2011

...A TORNADO WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FOR EAST CENTRAL JEFFERSON
COUNTY UNTIL 900 PM CDT...

AT 848 PM CDT...NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DOPPLER RADAR AND STORM
SPOTTERS WERE TRACKING A LARGE AND EXTREMELY DANGEROUS TORNADO. THIS
TORNADO WAS LOCATED 5 MILES NORTHEAST OF CARDIFF...OR 6 MILES
NORTHWEST OF GARDENDALE...MOVING EAST AT 35 MPH.

LOCATIONS IMPACTED INCLUDE...
GARDENDALE...FULTONDALE...PINSON-CLAY-CHALKVILLE.. .TRUSSVILLE...
LEEDS...KIMBERLY...MORRIS...PINSON...CENTER POINT AND CLAY.

THIS INCLUDES...
INTERSTATE 65 EXIT NUMBERS 271 THROUGH 275...
INTERSTATE 459 EXIT NUMBERS 31 THROUGH 33...
INTERSTATE 20 EXIT NUMBER 140...
INTERSTATE 59 EXIT NUMBERS 134 THROUGH 143...

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

MOTORISTS SHOULD NOT TAKE SHELTER UNDER HIGHWAY OVERPASSES. AS A LAST
RESORT... EITHER PARK YOUR VEHICLE AND STAY PUT...OR ABANDON YOUR
VEHICLE AND LIE DOWN IN A LOW LYING AREA.

&&

TO REPORT SEVERE WEATHER...CALL 1-800-856-0758.
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EF-3
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Base vorticity radar out of Birmingham is showing a pretty strong and strengthening TVS right now.
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This is not good.

SEVERE WEATHER STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE BIRMINGHAM AL
841 PM CDT SAT MAR 26 2011

ALC073-127-270200-
/O.CON.KBMX.TO.W.0028.000000T0000Z-110327T0200Z/
JEFFERSON AL-WALKER AL-
841 PM CDT SAT MAR 26 2011

...A TORNADO WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FOR EXTREME EAST CENTRAL
WALKER AND NORTHEASTERN JEFFERSON COUNTIES UNTIL 900 PM CDT...

AT 834 PM CDT...TRAINED WEATHER SPOTTERS REPORTED A LARGE TORNADO!
THIS TORNADO WAS LOCATED NEAR SUMITON...MOVING EAST AT 40 MPH.

LOCATIONS IMPACTED INCLUDE...
GARDENDALE...FULTONDALE...PINSON-CLAY-CHALKVILLE.. .TRUSSVILLE...
IRONDALE...LEEDS...CARDIFF...BROOKSIDE...KIMBERLY AND MORRIS.


THIS INCLUDES...
INTERSTATE 65 EXIT NUMBERS 266 THROUGH 281...
INTERSTATE 459 EXIT NUMBERS 23 THROUGH 33...
US 78 EXIT NUMBERS 85 THROUGH 91...
INTERSTATE 20 EXIT NUMBERS 128 THROUGH 140...
INTERSTATE 59 EXIT NUMBERS 130 THROUGH 143...

TO REPORT SEVERE WEATHER...CALL 1-800-856-0758.

LAT...LON 3379 8672 3373 8654 3367 8653 3362 8655
3356 8655 3355 8652 3353 8652 3353 8655
3347 8662 3347 8668 3346 8668 3371 8709
3382 8706
TIME...MOT...LOC 0140Z 284DEG 34KT 3374 8695

$$

17/KLAWS
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Quoting European58:


Sorry Grothar, overlooked this one.
According to the models it wil be monday.
Hope you get wet nicely.


Yeah looks like a wet week for all the southeast except south Florida(they ain't getting squat).
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Quoting RTLSNK:
By the way, today is Orca's Birthday!

So, HAPPY BIRTHDAY WHALE BOY!!!

I won't mention how old he is, but I can give you a visual hint. :)

I dont think that you are allowed to post pictures of other bloggers, like the one of Orca, without their permission.....
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968. flsky
Quoting RTLSNK:
By the way, today is Orca's Birthday!

So, HAPPY BIRTHDAY WHALE BOY!!!

I won't mention how old he is, but I can give you a visual hint. :)


How can you use such a sad little creature in a joke?
Member Since: October 24, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 2047
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:


Those are exactly what they use here in Macon. When you think about it, the storm doesn't seem nearly as concerning or fearsome without the sirens as it does with them.
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Really good live footage here of lowering wall cloud, possible tornado by Birmingham. Hard to see, but you can catch a good view with lightning flash. Link
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By the way, today is Orca's Birthday!

So, HAPPY BIRTHDAY WHALE BOY!!!

I won't mention how old he is, but I can give you a visual hint. :)
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Watch out folks in the Birmingham area!

TORNADO WARNING
ALC073-127-270200-
/O.NEW.KBMX.TO.W.0028.110327T0105Z-110327T0200Z/

BULLETIN - EAS ACTIVATION REQUESTED
TORNADO WARNING
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE BIRMINGHAM AL
805 PM CDT SAT MAR 26 2011

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN BIRMINGHAM HAS ISSUED A

* TORNADO WARNING FOR...
JEFFERSON COUNTY IN CENTRAL ALABAMA...
EASTERN WALKER COUNTY IN CENTRAL ALABAMA...

* UNTIL 900 PM CDT

* AT 802 PM CDT...NUMEROUS SPOTTERS REPORTED A FUNNEL CLOUD NEAR
JASPER...WITH NUMEROUS REPORTS OF EXTREMELY LARGE HAIL. A TORNADO
MAY DEVELOP AT ANY TIME! DOPPLER RADAR SHOWED THIS DANGEROUS STORM
MOVING SOUTHEAST AT 50 MPH.


* LOCATIONS IMPACTED INCLUDE...
CORDOVA...DORA...SUMITON...FAIRFIELD...GARDENDALE. ..FULTONDALE...
BIRMINGHAM...HOMEWOOD...PINSON-CLAY-CHALKVILLE AND VESTAVIA HILLS.

THIS INCLUDES...
INTERSTATE 65 EXIT NUMBERS 250 THROUGH 282...
INTERSTATE 459 EXIT NUMBERS 13 THROUGH 33...
US 78 EXIT NUMBERS 65 THROUGH 91...
INTERSTATE 20 EXIT NUMBERS 115 THROUGH 140...
INTERSTATE 59 EXIT NUMBERS 130 THROUGH 143...

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

TAKE COVER NOW. FOR YOUR PROTECTION MOVE TO AN INTERIOR ROOM ON THE
LOWEST FLOOR OF A STURDY BUILDING.

&&

TO REPORT SEVERE WEATHER...
CALL 1-800-856-0758.
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963. flsky
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:

This sounds like the air raid sirens they used to sound every Friday at 10am when was a kid (Bay of Pigs era). Still gives me the shivers. Good luck everyone and please be careful.
Member Since: October 24, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 2047
Quoting pottery:
You guys in Georgia keep your heads down!!
You too, Snake...


We are well here Lord Pottery, shaken but not stirred. :)
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Quoting HurricaneSwirl:


The tornado warnings went off everywhere. Back here at our home in the western half of the county the sirens were on. Unfortunately according to her, the advisers didn't come around and help the artists but were in fact the first ones to flee.


Yes, I have seen that happen many times during disasters in my lifetime. It takes a person who cares more about others than themselves to run towards trouble trying to help rather than away from it.
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You guys in Georgia keep your heads down!!
You too, Snake...
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This is for the cell Northwest of Birmingham, Al that looks like it's going to come to close for comfort for the folks there.

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN BIRMINGHAM HAS ISSUED A

* TORNADO WARNING FOR...
NORTHWESTERN WALKER COUNTY IN CENTRAL ALABAMA...

* UNTIL 815 PM CDT

* AT 735 PM CDT...EMA DIRECTLY UNDERNEATH THE STORM REPORTED A
FUNNEL CLOUD NEAR ELDRIDGE...OR 6 MILES NORTHWEST OF CARBON HILL.
A TORNADO MAY DEVELOP AT ANY TIME. DOPPLER RADAR SHOWED THIS
DANGEROUS STORM MOVING EAST AT 35 MPH.

* LOCATIONS IMPACTED INCLUDE...
CARBON HILL...JASPER...KANSAS...NAUVOO...CURRY...CEDRUM AREA...
TOWNLEY...HOLLY GROVE...LUPTON AND GAMBLE.

THIS INCLUDES...
US 78 EXIT NUMBERS 39 THROUGH 65...

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

TAKE COVER NOW. FOR YOUR PROTECTION MOVE TO AN INTERIOR ROOM ON THE
LOWEST FLOOR OF A STURDY BUILDING.
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CURRENT SEVERE WEATHER STATEMENTS

Link
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Quoting RTLSNK:


Wow, that sounded bad! Did the city not notify anyone or did the Tornado Sirens just go off all over town? We live off of Bass Road in the NW section just outside of the city limits. There is a fire station two blocks NE of us on Northside Drive, when that thing goes off it is just as loud and the one Keeper just downloaded. Glad your Mom is OK, hope her artwork wasn't damaged. Watching channel 13 right now and it looks bad down south of us. :(


The tornado warnings went off everywhere. Back here at our home in the western half of the county the sirens were on. Unfortunately according to her, the advisers didn't come around and help the artists but were in fact the first ones to flee.
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Tup TWC confirmed Tornado on the ground by at Centerville moving east to Warner Robbins and the AFB. Heading towards Jefersonville/Danvile by now, TAKE COVER!
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Quoting Grothar:


Hey, Euro! Looks like we are finally going to get a little rain in Florida finally. It is very dry.


Sorry Grothar, overlooked this one.
According to the models it wil be monday.
Hope you get wet nicely.
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Tornado warning canceled as it bumped southwards into Warner robins it looks like.
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Quoting HurricaneSwirl:


There was a tornado update on TWC that said a trained weather spotter located the funnel cloud at the Middle Georgia Regional Airport. So yeah definitely south of Macon this time, not by that much though.


Yes, Tornado on the ground about to cross I-16 headed for Jeffersonville.

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Quoting RTLSNK:
Yes, I am still here Keeper, new storm is south of Macon near Robbins AFB.
Warner Robbins has been nailed before..Prayers for the people in that area....
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Quoting Grothar:
Looks like New Orleans could be in for a wet week.

Man did we just get pounded up here...It just never stops..
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Quoting RTLSNK:
Yes, I am still here Keeper, new storm is south of Macon near Robbins AFB.


There was a tornado update on TWC that said a trained weather spotter located the funnel cloud at the Middle Georgia Regional Airport. So yeah definitely south of Macon this time, not by that much though.
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Quoting RTLSNK:
Yes, I am still here Keeper, new storm is south of Macon near Robbins AFB.
well that would be a good thing bro a very good thing

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Yes, I am still here Keeper, new storm is south of Macon near Robbins AFB.
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:


The best radar on the web....IMHO...thanks :)
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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.