Spring flooding hits Midwest; Southeast drought eases

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 7:04 PM GMT on March 20, 2008

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This year's annual spring flooding season is upon us, and it's been a worse flood year than usual across much of the Midwestern U.S. At least 13 people have been killed due to the flooding this week, with another three persons missing. A slow moving storm system brought rains in excess of ten inches to the region (Figure 1). These rains, combined with melting from unusually heavy snows this winter, have led to the floods.


Figure 1. Heavy rains exceeding 10 inches have fallen in some portions of the Midwest over the past week. Image credit: NOAA.

According to NOAA, 224 cities are experiencing flooding today, with major flooding reported in 13 cities in Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, and Illinois. As snow continues to melt and runoff from the recent rains continues to increase the flooding, an additional 13 cities are expected to observe major flooding in the next 48 hours. Fortunately, no heavy rain is expected in the next three days, so a long duration flooding event is not likely.


Figure 2. The NOAA flood outlook calls for significant river flooding across much of the Midwest through Monday. Image credit: NOAA.

Flooding outlook for this Spring
According to NOAA, Above-normal flood potential is expected this Spring 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. Snow depths up to a foot above usual in upstate New York and much of New England could cause flooding in the Connecticut River Valley; locations in the mountains of Colorado and Idaho have 150 to 200 percent of average water contained in the snow pack, leading to a higher than normal flood potential there; and Wisconsin and northern Illinois have had heavy snows this winter that could cause continued flooding concerns this Spring.

Southeast drought continues to improve
On the plus side, the area of the Southeast U.S. covered by the severest form of drought--exceptional drought--has shrunk to a small spot over southern Tennessee/northern Alabama, and Georgia is free of exceptional drought for the first time since July. The drought is expected to continue to improve between now and June over the Southeast U.S.

Jeff Masters

Batesville's west side is flooded. (pb4ugo)
Hundreds of residents ere evacuated earlier today. As the water continues to rise, hundreds more may have to leave their homes.
Batesville's west side is flooded.
Flooding Strikes NE Arkansas & SE Missouri (ArkaTechHog77)
Severe flooding hits the area. My stepfather took a friend up and snapped these shots. Photos taken around HWY 53 area around Qulin and Poplar Bluff. Others taken in Clay County, Arkansas.
Flooding Strikes NE Arkansas & SE Missouri
Kroger 3 (Hawg8)
Local flooding
Kroger 3

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364. Ivansrvivr
5:11 PM GMT on March 23, 2008
I had 6 inches of rain yesterday/this morning.
363. Ivansrvivr
5:08 PM GMT on March 23, 2008
I was just about to comment that the Low didnt push the front southward as it passed, maybe a new low is forming to the west, or yesterdays low hasnt moved much. We have very unstable conditions here on the east coast.
362. Weather456
12:28 PM AST on March 23, 2008
CENTRAL AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN REGION....

A sharp upper trough is digging across the Western Caribbean along 85W to 8N. Meanwhile, the western flank of an upper ridge dominates the remainder of the area east of the trough. The southwesterly to west-southwesterly flow between these two features is advecting scattered cirrus streamers over the basin from 83W to 60W. Meanwhile, surface high pressure north of our region is maintaining 20 knot tradewind flow east of 80W decreasing to below 10 knots west of 80W, with the highest trades along the South American Coast near 30 knots. These trades will bring patches of moisture into the region, causing few passing showers mainly across the Northern Caribbean. Otherwise, fair weather dominates. Seas have substantially subsided to 3-4 ft over the Eastern Caribbean shores, increasing to 6-8 ft over the open Caribbean Sea to 80W and subside once more to 3-4 ft beyond. The highest seas are 10 ft right along the Colombian Coast/SW Caribbean, where the pressure gradient has tighten between the subtropical ridge and the climatological heat low over Colombia.

by W456
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
361. Weather456
11:56 AM AST on March 23, 2008
GULF OF MEXICO/NORTHWEST ATLANTIC OCEAN WEST OF 50W....

The upper flow across the Gulf has become northwesterly between a weak trough along 85W and a broad ridge over the Eastern Pacific Ocean. This flow is relatively dry and confluent in nature providing for stable conditions in the mid-upper levels across Mexico, the Southern United States and the Gulf west of 85W. At the surface, observations through 1500 UTC indicated a weak frontal boundary lies across the Northern Gulf from the Big Ben area of Florida to the Texas Mexican border. This feature remains absent of significant shower activity due to the stable environment it is embedded in...shallow clouds exist instead. Another more define frontal trough boundary extends from near 23N/90W across the Southern Florida Peninsula. Scattered showers are within 60 nmi of the front/trough over the Gulf and within 200 nmi over Florida.

The surface flow over the Gulf this afternoon is being maintained by a strong 1035 mb high over the Upper Plains. QuikSCAT, surface observations and DMSP SSM/I Microwave Imagery revealed northeast winds of 10-15 knots over the eastern Gulf, increasing to 20 knots in the Central and Western Gulf. Northeasterly swells over the entire Gulf at 1-2 ft over the Eastern part, increasing to 5-6 ft over open waters of the Central Gulf, then subsiding to 3-4 ft over the Western Gulf, mainly along the coast of Mexico, Texas and Louisiana.

A band of overcast cloudiness and showers continues across the Southern Florida, across the extreme Northern Bahamas to beyond 30N/70W. Wind shifts reported by marine stations indicated the presence of a frontal boundary and this further supported by frontal rope structures at the leading edge of the cloud band. Meanwhile, a well define high is analyzed 1025 mb at 31N/49W based on visible imagery and surface analysis (See Below). Patches of broken cloudiness is seen rotating around the flow of the high from 40W to 70W south of 27N. Fair weather is noted elsewhere.

by W456

Central Subtropics



Analysed surface flow based on the motion of cloud elements

Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
359. weatherfromFlorida
3:40 PM GMT on March 23, 2008
Hi, first time poster, not new to the site, I have been watching from 2005.

Is this year going to be a La Nina, El Nino, or ENSO?
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358. TerraNova
10:58 AM EDT on March 23, 2008
Happy Easter everyone! The weather looks great along much of the eastern seaboard and the southwest.
Member Since: July 30, 2007 Posts: 76 Comments: 4063
354. KoritheMan
5:24 AM GMT on March 23, 2008
I doubt that very much. There is a huge amount of dry air (SAL), across the entire Atlantic ocean.

True. African dust outbreaks are quite common during the Spring and even early summer (June and July).

Its a model that all.
Dont give anything any credence till May at least.
And the season Never Starts that far east in the Atlantic.
Most early invest form in the BOC, Southern GOM, or Caribbean.
Models ..especially long range ones..are not Gospel.


Well said. Actually, I'd think an invest would be more likely to form in the subtropical Atlantic than anywhere else at this time of year. I believe the Category 2 hurricane of March 1908 that struck the Leeward Islands originated north of the islands in the subtropical Atlantic.

And yeah, models definitely aren't gospel. I wouldn't worry about any of this until around May 15.
Member Since: March 7, 2007 Posts: 560 Comments: 20043
351. HurricaneGeek
10:12 PM EDT on March 22, 2008
Yes Pat, thanks. I just wanted to make sure I was looking at what I thought I was. :)
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350. JUSTCOASTING
2:08 AM GMT on March 23, 2008
rain here in Punta Gorda Fl all day long now we have lighting
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349. cchsweatherman
10:05 PM EDT on March 22, 2008
Looks like more to come for South Florida. Have a great night and Happy Easter to you all.

Member Since: April 14, 2007 Posts: 8 Comments: 5167
348. Ivansrvivr
1:55 AM GMT on March 23, 2008
I actually like the spellchecker in safari better.
347. Patrap
8:54 PM CDT on March 22, 2008
One can watch the Last 10 days of Waves in the Atlantic here.
WAVETRAK - Northern Atlantic Sector Link
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 421 Comments: 127702
346. Patrap
8:49 PM CDT on March 22, 2008
Its a model that all.
Dont give anything any credence till May at least.
And the season Never Starts that far east in the Atlantic.
Most early invest form in the BOC, Southern GOM, or Caribbean.
Models ..especially long range ones..are not Gospel.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 421 Comments: 127702
345. HurricaneGeek
9:43 PM EDT on March 22, 2008
Eagles or anyone else; on post #337 I have a question; is it the yellow on the equator that the GFS is developing? if so, how can that be? I thought systems can't develop that far south, so I don't think it is. So I think it's the system closer to 13-15┬░North. I would just like to make sure I know what I'm seeing, and what I think I'm seeing is correct. Thanks in advance!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
344. Patrap
8:41 PM CDT on March 22, 2008
US SATELLITE OVERLAYS LAST OBS: 00UTC 23MAR08
SFC PRES/RADAR Loop Link
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 421 Comments: 127702
343. Patrap
8:37 PM CDT on March 22, 2008
Auto spell checker is included in Firefox 2 also.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 421 Comments: 127702
342. Ivansrvivr
1:35 AM GMT on March 23, 2008
I am currently trying Firefox for the first time. It is a little slower than Safari 3.1 but it is smooth. I am impressed
341. eaglesrock
1:34 AM GMT on March 23, 2008
Baha: I will do it, but if you get Firefox, then resizing won't be necessary.

This is to other people, too.
340. Patrap
8:13 PM CDT on March 22, 2008
If one has IE instead of Firefox here.
You wont get images resized automatically.


Firefox2,Link is recommended by wunderground developers. For all your weather browsing needs here.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 421 Comments: 127702
339. BahaHurican
9:10 PM EDT on March 22, 2008
eagle,

can you reduce the size of the image you just posted?

Thanks.
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 21659
338. BahaHurican
8:44 PM EDT on March 22, 2008
Evening everybody. I'm watching this system over FL with interest. One reason is that, while it seems to be dropping quite a lot of rain on the South FL area, so far Nassau hasn't seen a drop.



Looks like Grand Bahama and Abaco are getting a soaking, though.
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 21659
337. eaglesrock
1:02 AM GMT on March 23, 2008
The GFS seems to want to develop an invest in the long-range...this has been on 3 straight runs now.

335. Skyepony (Mod)
11:48 PM GMT on March 22, 2008
Flooding in S IL by Hawg8

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334. stormdude77
7:41 PM AST on March 22, 2008
Looks like Lake O is getting some much needed rainfall.
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333. stormdude77
7:35 PM AST on March 22, 2008
Could this mean an early start to hurricane season?

I doubt that very much. There is a huge amount of dry air (SAL), across the entire Atlantic ocean.
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332. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
11:24 PM GMT on March 22, 2008
heavy trailing rain s side of tampa to sarasoda south
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 169 Comments: 53308
331. Patrap
6:03 PM CDT on March 22, 2008
Tropical Cyclones Climatology Page

Subject: G1) When is hurricane season? Link

Home page Link
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 421 Comments: 127702
330. Patrap
6:02 PM CDT on March 22, 2008
National Hurricane Preparedness Week

History teaches that a lack of hurricane awareness and preparation are common threads among all major hurricane disasters. By knowing your vulnerability and what actions you should take, you can reduce the effects of a hurricane disaster. Hurricane Preparedness Week during 2008 will be held May 25th through May 31st.

Link
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 421 Comments: 127702
329. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
10:57 PM GMT on March 22, 2008
eagle we got 5 hrs and 67 days edt to go
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 169 Comments: 53308
328. Ivansrvivr
10:53 PM GMT on March 22, 2008
Shear is just one of many elements needed for tropical development. That drop in shear could indicate an early start to the Cape Verde season. Lower shear doen't help much if there are no triggers for development or SSTs are too cool.
327. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
10:55 PM GMT on March 22, 2008
eagles dont worry iam sure
2008 will be great!
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 169 Comments: 53308
326. eaglesrock
10:50 PM GMT on March 22, 2008
It feels like hurricane season posting all these graphs...but look how quickly shear is decreasing. Could this mean an early start to hurricane season?

325. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
10:41 PM GMT on March 22, 2008
picking up 60 dbz sw awon park
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 169 Comments: 53308
324. Ivansrvivr
10:17 PM GMT on March 22, 2008
The rainband north of tampa extends into the GOM and is easing southward. There will still at least be some showers or T-showers overnight for West Central Fl.
323. Ivansrvivr
10:12 PM GMT on March 22, 2008
Patrap, check the WV loop. it looks like the trough driving this system is farther back in the GOM.
322. Patrap
5:08 PM CDT on March 22, 2008
The Weather in Texas is another Low/Cold Front dissociated from that 1013mb GOM Low near Fla, that is a Short wave Low along the old frontal Boundary.


Surface fronts animated Link

GOES-IR Loop GOM Link
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 421 Comments: 127702
320. Ivansrvivr
9:42 PM GMT on March 22, 2008
Has anyone looked at this system on the water vapor loop? It looks like the energy driving this system is closer to Texas than FL. It drawing moisture off the yucatan.
319. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
9:33 PM GMT on March 22, 2008
sun going down now iam losing vis
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 169 Comments: 53308
318. cchsweatherman
5:34 PM EDT on March 22, 2008
Nice to see you again Nash. What are you seeing right now?
Member Since: April 14, 2007 Posts: 8 Comments: 5167
317. nash28
9:34 PM GMT on March 22, 2008
Same to you Ivan!
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316. Ivansrvivr
9:33 PM GMT on March 22, 2008
Hey Nash. Happy Easter.
315. Ivansrvivr
9:31 PM GMT on March 22, 2008
the rain falling now has stabilized the atmosphere making severe wx less likely. However this low is much more vigorous than forecast so I wouldn't rule it out.
314. nash28
9:32 PM GMT on March 22, 2008
Looks like the rain will continue through the evening in the Bay area.
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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.