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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Quoting cat5hurricane:
4 straight days now these radiation levels have gradually gone down in each of the adjacent prefectures to Fukushima Diaachi power plant in Japan. Of course, weather conditions have been variable over the past couple days and that these reading in the air do not account for what has been observed in the water. Thus, radioactive materials in water surrounding the plant may still be exceptionally above average.


This information is interesting as it would on the surface indicate that things are getting better,

I've just seen on the Spanish TVE 9pm news, that reported radiation levels in some areas are 4,000 times higher than normal, whatever normal is in the cases they are measuring, added to this there are big worries about sea water radiation levels.

The news reported that the evacuation zone has been extended to 30 Kms, or about 20 miles, also they showed a video of quite a lot of what appears to be 'smoke' coming out of 3 of the reactor buildings.

I have to add that I have no links to post on any of this but things don't look good and the drop in radiation may be due to offshore winds.

The ''experts'' on the news were university professors and they were 'gravely concerned' about the consequences of the possible melted reactor core materials.

Member Since: January 21, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 2064
Hey guys forget 2012, there's a crazy dude that is predicting the end of the world to be May 21 or 22nd of this year(I don't remember the exact day but it doesn't matter anyway).

Better get ready...
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887 weatherboy1992 "Confirmed death toll now 10,489 in Japan with 16,621 missing. Adds up to 27,110---looks like the final death toll will be 25,000 "

The number of missing alone reported by just 5 towns (Minamisanriku, Kesennuma, Rikuzentakata, Ofunato, and Otsuchi) still exceeds that total of "27,110 dead and missing".
Member Since: August 21, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 4860
Quoting Ossqss:


Quick! Someone needs a tissue......



LOL that GIF image or whatever its called is hilarious.
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Quoting AussieStorm:

Bob, why don't you just use your normal weather i.d


Bob? Do you really think I'm someone else? I don't know who Bob is but I'm not him, I'm the young college student standing in Front of the FSU meteorplogy/mathematics building in my picture. Ive used the weather underground since it first formed...
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Quoting InconceivableF6:

That's really cool. Good luck to you on that. Florida State actually has a pretty good program.


Thanks! and pretty good? more like really good :)

heck they have the dang Tallahassee MET office built right into the meteorology building!
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Japan's Meteorological Agency says the recent [9.0] earthquake...occurred due to a
450-kilometer fault line shift[ing]...up to 30 meters in just 3 minutes.
Member Since: August 21, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 4860
Quoting Ameister12:
Even though the tornado warning has expired, the storm heading for Macon still should be watched. It's still looking very decent.

(Tornado warning has been reissued.)


Yup they re-issued that awfully quick, looks like it weakened for a few frames but is really tightening up again.


THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN PEACHTREE CITY HAS ISSUED A

* TORNADO WARNING FOR...
BIBB COUNTY IN CENTRAL GEORGIA
NORTHEASTERN CRAWFORD COUNTY IN CENTRAL GEORGIA
SOUTHERN MONROE COUNTY IN CENTRAL GEORGIA

* UNTIL 530 PM EDT

* AT 440 PM EDT...NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DOPPLER RADAR INDICATED A
SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING A TORNADO 7 MILES NORTH OF
ROBERTA...MOVING EAST AT 45 MPH.

* OTHER LOCATIONS IN THE WARNING INCLUDE BUT ARE NOT LIMITED TO PAYNE
CITY AND MACON.
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Quoting VAbeachhurricanes:


still has a nice hook, wonder why they removed the warning

Looks like they've reissued it.

000
WFUS52 KFFC 262044
TORFFC
GAC021-079-207-262130-
/O.NEW.KFFC.TO.W.0009.110326T2044Z-110326T2130Z/

BULLETIN - EAS ACTIVATION REQUESTED
TORNADO WARNING
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE PEACHTREE CITY GA
444 PM EDT SAT MAR 26 2011

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN PEACHTREE CITY HAS ISSUED A

* TORNADO WARNING FOR...
BIBB COUNTY IN CENTRAL GEORGIA
NORTHEASTERN CRAWFORD COUNTY IN CENTRAL GEORGIA
SOUTHERN MONROE COUNTY IN CENTRAL GEORGIA

* UNTIL 530 PM EDT

* AT 440 PM EDT...NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DOPPLER RADAR INDICATED A
SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING A TORNADO 7 MILES NORTH OF
ROBERTA...MOVING EAST AT 45 MPH.

* OTHER LOCATIONS IN THE WARNING INCLUDE BUT ARE NOT LIMITED TO PAYNE
CITY AND MACON.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

HEAVY RAINFALL MAY OBSCURE THIS TORNADO. TAKE COVER NOW! IF YOU WAIT
TO SEE OR HEAR IT COMING...IT WILL BE TOO LATE TO GET TO A SAFE
PLACE.

IF YOU SEE WIND DAMAGE...LARGE HAIL OR SIGNIFICANT FLOODING...WAIT
UNTIL AFTER THE STORM HAS PASSED...AND THEN CALL THE NATIONAL WEATHER
SERVICE TOLL FREE AT 1 8 6 6 7 6 3 4 4 6 6.

A TORNADO WATCH REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 900 PM EDT SATURDAY EVENING
FOR NORTHWESTERN GEORGIA.

&&

LAT...LON 3269 8370 3269 8378 3272 8404 3295 8401
3295 8371 3292 8369 3289 8366 3289 8360
3283 8350 3280 8350 3274 8358 3274 8360
3270 8361 3266 8360
TIME...MOT...LOC 2043Z 271DEG 38KT 3282 8393

$$

16




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Quoting Ameister12:
Even though the tornado warning has expired, the storm heading for Macon still should be watched. It's still looking very decent.


still has a nice hook, wonder why they removed the warning
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Even though the tornado warning has expired, the storm heading for Macon still should be watched. It's still looking very decent.

(Tornado warning has been reissued.)
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880. xcool
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Quoting Ossqss:


Quick! Someone needs a tissue......


The person in the photo doesn't look like JB; the tears are about right, for sure, but the neck isn't thick enough, and there's too much hair...
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13455
All the tornado warned storms look very impressive.
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Watching this cell heading towards Lafayette, Alabama. Radar indicated echo tops of 35,000 ft and a strong chance for 2in hail. Looks like it might be trying to coil.

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YIPES..The Tornado Watches are out and tornado warnings to go with it. BAD situation..A good set up for a super cell t storm convention today :(
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Quoting RTLSNK:
This is bad, the U2 storm is headed for Macon with a Tornado signature. 32,000 footer, 1.5 " hail. Macon is having a Cherry Blossom Festival in downtown Macon and at the city park east of downtown. Thousands of families, carnival rides, food venders, ect, ect. I hope someone is paying attention. Storm is one county west of us heading this way fast. Shutting down now.
It does look rather potent..
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Pretty impressive dynamics out there for severe weather across the Southeast region. SBCAPE values ranging from 2000J/kg-3000J/kg with the highest values over Louisiana and Mississippi. Lifted Index values widely between -6 to -7. Low level lapse rates on the order of 7-8C/km.

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Quoting Neapolitan:
Oh, JB, always such a clown. And always such a dreamer, consistently crossing his fingers and predicting a period of global cooling that hasn't come, and isn't going to. "Next year!" he proclaims every December. "Next year is the start of the new ice age!" And his uneducated followers loyally throw their dwindling faith behind him, wondering just exactly when oh when their denialism will ever be validated.

It's apparent that being booted from Sack-A-Weather didn't bruise JB's misplaced ego any--and it's even more apparent it did nothing to teach him the error of his anti-science, so-often-wrong-about-weather ways.

One only has to wonder how long WeatherBell will trade what little credibility it has for the minor bump in readership JB brings.


Quick! Someone needs a tissue......

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This is bad, the U2 storm is headed for Macon with a Tornado signature. 32,000 footer, 1.5 " hail. Macon is having a Cherry Blossom Festival in downtown Macon and at the city park east of downtown. Thousands of families, carnival rides, food venders, ect, ect. I hope someone is paying attention. Storm is one county west of us heading this way fast. Shutting down now.
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Ahhhhh......warmth


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Oh, JB, always such a clown. And always such a dreamer, consistently crossing his fingers and predicting a period of global cooling that hasn't come, and isn't going to. "Next year!" he proclaims every December. "Next year is the start of the new ice age!" And his uneducated followers loyally throw their dwindling faith behind him, wondering just exactly when oh when their denialism will ever be validated.

It's apparent that being booted from Sack-A-Weather didn't bruise JB's misplaced ego any--and it's even more apparent it did nothing to teach him the error of his anti-science, so-often-wrong-about-weather ways.

One only has to wonder how long WeatherBell will trade what little credibility it has for the minor bump in readership JB brings.
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13455
#866

Is that for the blog, in general, Darpa, or did you have someone in mind?

Hey, Grothar! I think Darpa sent you a link?
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#850

I sure hope that some of dat rain gets further west before the front moves offshore, Pat. See if you can push some of it across that big crawdad hole that separates our two states. While you at it, send some of them crawdads too! Wouldn't hurt to sprinkle some of da crawfish boil on em first. Nuthin like them showing up all prepared for whats bout to happen.
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865. xcool
http://www.weatherbell.com/jb/?p=434
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864. xcool
Weakening Nina, but no Nino coming on

I am hearing rumblings about an el nino coming on and I want to remind folks that I have been in out in front of the last 2 enso events by over 6 months, since I started making forecasts on this publicly 3 years ago. I started to do so because once I saw the cold PDO took over, there is a rather predictable pattern to the enso events that develop. I was horrified by the acceptance in the warmist community that we were going into a time of almost permanent warm events, but that went hand in hand with their theories of the global warming beyond
a tipping point. Obviously that has been dashed upon the rocks as the last 2 cold events have been dramatic in nature in the Pacific. Truth is, this is not hard to see.. simply go back and look at the late 40s and 50s when all this turned around.

Unfortunately for those striving to discover something new, the simple answer is the best answer. When one needs to “justify” their answers it can lead to things like this..the front post from wuwt:

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/03/24/steve-mcint yre-uncovers-another-trick/#more-36551

In any case, I dont need millions and millions of dollars of public tax money that can be spent for much more worthy causes to tell you the obvious. Cold or neutral events will rule during the cold PDO. My cumpare Joe D Aleo covers this nicely in his blog.

But there is a tendency today in the field to go with the consensus idea in forecasting, rather than to try to nail the outlier event. I make my living trying to hit events that make a difference. So because I dig into things, I will take stands on situations that draw the ire of some. For instance, what do we have going on now… the weakening of the cold event and people now saying a warm event is coming back on. But why should it? What should happen is what happened in 08… that we do weaken toward the mid ground, then cool a bit going into next winter. Why? Because that is what happens in cold PDO’s. It doesnt mean it can pop slightly positive for a while, but no warm event is likely till the winter of 12-13.

If we look at the IRI site we see it heading right into the middle with its spread, but a slew of models looking warm

However I am much more in the camp for the ECMWF

and the JMA
for 3 reasons
1) They make sense given the past
2) They make sense given the physical realities of the global
pattern
3) the models have demonstrated superiority, especially over the US based CFS which loves to go anyway the wind blow.

In fact, last year, when I roundly chastised the US CFS for its cool summer, taking the opposite side. and said its forecast last summer was better for this one ( the cooler pool over the north and lakes, though not down into Texas) it was because
the enso cool that was coming ( remember this was back last March) was going to weaken this summer.

So I am not in the warm event camp.. yet. However when the nino does come on, look out.. Remember the winters of the late 70s… well again I am on record as saying some very bad winters may be lurking.

As it is, the coming 2-3 weeks, relative to the season, are no
piece of Candy, and those watching this post have seen that being talked about for quite a while.

Its not hype if it happens

ciao for now
****










post by JOE B
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ANYONE KNOW THE LINK TO JOE BASTADI'S NEW WEBSITE??
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And winter still wants the eastern half...
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Some possible good news for Florida...
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859. beell
click graphic for discussions

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Looks like more stormy weather with some severe too
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2011 HURRICANE SEASON STILL LURKS
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Mammoth Sets all time snow record for one season since record keeping began in 1969. Previous record was in the 2005-2006 with a season total of 578.54 inches.

Year Total (inches)

2005-06 578.54
2010-11 592.5
Avg 342.5

Broke the record by a near 2 ft. Additionally, Mammoth could see up to another 5ft of snow before the season is out, since on average Mammoth gets another 3 ft of snow from April & May.
Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 19 Comments: 4357
College of DuPage Meteorology
Severe Weather and Flash Flood Warnings
Note: This page will reload every 2 minutes. Warnings are listed with the most recent first.



SVR T-STORM WARNING MEMPHIS TN - KMEG 153 PM CDT SAT MAR 26 2011
SVR T-STORM WARNING BIRMINGHAM AL - KBMX 146 PM CDT SAT MAR 26 2011
TORNADO WARNING PEACHTREE CITY GA - KFFC 246 PM EDT SAT MAR 26 2011
SVR T-STORM WARNING PEACHTREE CITY GA - KFFC 242 PM EDT SAT MAR 26 2011
TORNADO WARNING BIRMINGHAM AL - KBMX 136 PM CDT SAT MAR 26 2011
TORNADO WARNING BIRMINGHAM AL - KBMX 125 PM CDT SAT MAR 26 2011
SVR T-STORM WARNING PEACHTREE CITY GA - KFFC 221 PM EDT SAT MAR 26 2011
SVR T-STORM WARNING TALLAHASSEE FL - KTAE 219 PM EDT SAT MAR 26 2011
TORNADO WARNING BIRMINGHAM AL - KBMX 105 PM CDT SAT MAR 26 2011
SVR T-STORM WARNING TALLAHASSEE FL - KTAE 205 PM EDT SAT MAR 26 2011
SVR T-STORM WARNING BIRMINGHAM AL - KBMX 1238 PM CDT SAT MAR 26 2011
SVR T-STORM WARNING TALLAHASSEE FL - KTAE 108 PM EDT SAT MAR 26 2011
SVR T-STORM WARNING TALLAHASSEE FL - KTAE 1232 PM EDT SAT MAR 26 2011
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Lotsa Boomers on the roam yer way rtlsnk,,good idea to wane silent and let it pass.

I bet the NOAA Alerts will get going soon.
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Quoting HurricaneSwirl:


Yep.. Will be an early end to the cherry blossom festival here in Macon.


Hi Swirl, I would not want to be at that open park when these things come rolling in today.
I hope they have those Lions and Tigers secure in those cages they set up!!!

Coming into my neighborhood now, might shut Hal down for a little while, see you guys later.
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Maybe some GOM March Madness with a possibility of cyclogenesis occurring late Thursday.

Stay tuned to this Bat Channel
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Good afternoon all...

looks like the cells are all staying north and east of of my area - thank goodness!
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Area forecast discussion
National Weather Service New Orleans la
431 am CDT Sat Mar 26 2011


Short term...
deep moisture moving in ahead of the next front expected in
Sunday. This front will stall along the coast as well. The next
front due in Tuesday night will also stall...but this time it may be
over the northern Gulf. It is this front that will tell the story
of where the strong surface low will track. If the front is not able
to move north as a warm front then the low will track over the
northern Gulf with severe weather confined to that area. Over land...we
would stay in the cooler northerly wind regime with little in the
way of strong or severe weather. A difference of 50 to 100 miles in the
fcast path of the surface low makes all the difference in the world.
Will not be making any changes to current package since there is
no clear sign that model solutions want to play fair.
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A lot of moist air in the Caribbean...
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A deep Southerly flow is blowing thru here this afternoon.




Uptown, New Orleans, Louisiana (PWS)
Updated: 1 min 10 sec ago
Mostly Cloudy
83.0 °F
Mostly Cloudy
Humidity: 59%
Dew Point: 68 °F
Wind: 6.9 mph from the South
Wind Gust: 12.8 mph
Pressure: 29.85 in (Steady)
Heat Index: 86 °F
Visibility: 10.0 miles
UV: 6 out of 16
Pollen: 10.20 out of 12
Pollen Forecast new!
Clouds:
Mostly Cloudy 2600 ft
Mostly Cloudy 3400 ft
(Above Ground Level)
Elevation: 20 ft
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Quoting Tazmanian:



welcome
Firefox 4.0 installed.....Bring on thoze nasty canes...:)
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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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