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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164. Ivansrvivr
3:22 PM GMT on March 22, 2008
StormW that is exactly what i think is likely to happen. The deep waters have warmed to the point where upwelling isn't going to feed this La Nina much longer at all. The strengthening sun will warm the upwelled waters quickly as spring leads into summer. Then the SOI will drop like a rock as warm anomalies spread from both sides of the Pacific. Still I don't think it will be into El Nino until after this hurricane season is done. I think this hurricane season will be "La Nina to ENSO neutral" overall as it will take time for La Nina's effects to wane.
163. cchsweatherman
11:29 AM EDT on March 22, 2008
Great news. Based upon satellite loops, if that convective burst maintains itself, it will move directly over Lake Okeechobee late this afternoon and will linger for several hours. Looks like rainfall rates near 3 inches per hour with this convection.
Member Since: April 14, 2007 Posts: 8 Comments: 5169
162. cchsweatherman
11:19 AM EDT on March 22, 2008
We're lucky that this is not hurricane season as we could have been looking at a possible tropical system developing in the GOM. There has been a very intense convective burst building in the GOM. Just take a look at these satellite images.

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160. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
3:17 PM GMT on March 22, 2008
your welcome pat
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 174 Comments: 54630
159. Ivansrvivr
3:19 PM GMT on March 22, 2008
The storm popping in coastal southern Broward co is the one to watch. I wont be surprised if develops northward quickly
157. hydrus
3:15 PM GMT on March 22, 2008
Thank You-We can certainly use the rainfall but do not want any of the rough stuff.
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156. Patrap
10:18 AM CDT on March 22, 2008
HAZARDOUS WEATHER OUTLOOK
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE MELBOURNE FL
1005 AM EDT SAT MAR 22 2008


...THUNDERSTORM IMPACT...
A WEAK AREA OF LOW PRESSURE OVER THE SOUTHEAST GULF OF MEXICO
WILL MOVE EAST ACROSS SOUTH FLORIDA THIS AFTERNOON AND EVENING.
INCREASING COVERAGE OF SHOWERS WILL OVERSPREAD CENTRAL FLORIDA
DURING THE DAY. HEAVIER SHOWERS AND EMBEDDED THUNDERSTORMS ARE
FORECAST TO DEVELOP SOUTH OF ORLANDO...PRIMARILY OVER MARTIN...
SAINT LUCIE AND OKEECHOBEE COUNTIES LATER THIS AFTERNOON INTO
EARLY THIS EVENING. LACK OF INSTABILITY WILL LIMIT THE SEVERE
THREAT. HOWEVER...A RAPID INFLUX OF DEEP MOISTURE AND INCREASINGLY
FAVORABLE SPEED AND DIRECTIONAL SHEAR IN ASSOCIATION WITH A WARM
FRONTAL BOUNDARY LIFTING NORTH...MAY ALLOW FOR ONE OR TWO
ORGANIZED AND PERSISTENT STORMS TO DEVELOP AND PRODUCE LARGE
HAIL...DAMAGING WINDS AND EVEN A TORNADO...FROM LAKE OKEECHOBEE TO
THE TREASURE COAST. THIS SYSTEM IS EXPECTED TO CONTINUE MOVING
EAST ACROSS THE NORTHERN BAHAMAS AND AWAY FROM THE AREA OVERNIGHT.

...FLOOD IMPACT...
HEAVY DOWNPOURS MAY LEAD TO TEMPORARY FLOODING OF STREETS AND
OTHER LOW LYING OR POORLY DRAINED AREAS...MAINLY ACROSS MARTIN...
SAINT LUCIE AND OKEECHOBEE COUNTIES THIS AFTERNOON INTO EARLY
EVENING. TOTAL RAINFALL ACCUMULATIONS SHOULD APPROACH ONE INCH IN
THIS AREA WITH LOCALLY HIGHER AMOUNTS NEAR 2 INCHES POSSIBLE.
SIGNIFICANTLY LESS RAINFALL AMOUNTS TO THE NORTH.

...RIP CURRENT IMPACT...
...HIGH RISK OF RIP CURRENTS TODAY...
LONG PERIOD OCEAN SWELLS WILL CONTINUE TO PROPAGATE INTO THE SURF
ZONE AT EAST CENTRAL FLORIDA BEACHES...RESULTING IN A HIGH RISK
OF STRONG RIP CURRENTS TODAY. BEACH GOERS ARE URGED TO CHECK WITH
BEACH PATROL FOR LOCAL CONDITIONS BEFORE VENTURING INTO THE WATER.
SWIM WITHIN SIGHT OF A LIFEGUARD AND NEVER SWIM ALONE. EVEN THOSE
USING SURF OR BOOGIE BOARDS SHOULD USE CAUTION.

...MARINE THUNDERSTORM GUST IMPACT...
WIDESPREAD SHOWERS WITH EMBEDDED THUNDERSTORMS WILL MOVE OFFSHORE
THE TREASURE COAST AND ACROSS THE INTRACOASTAL AND ADJACENT
ATLANTIC WATERS THIS AFTERNOON AND EVENING. THE PRIMARY THREAT
WILL BE OCCASIONAL CLOUD TO GROUND LIGHTNING. A FEW STRONG STORMS
WILL BE CAPABLE OF PRODUCING WIND GUSTS IN EXCESS OF 35 KNOTS.

...WATERSPOUT IMPACT...
THERE IS A VERY LOW THREAT FOR ISOLATED WATERSPOUTS OVER THE
ATLANTIC LATE THIS AFTERNOON AND EVENING...ESPECIALLY IN STORMS
THAT MOVE OFFSHORE THE TREASURE COAST.

.DAYS TWO THROUGH SEVEN...SUNDAY THROUGH FRIDAY.
HAZARDOUS BOATING CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED TO DEVELOP ON MONDAY AND
CONTINUE TUESDAY...ESPECIALLY OFFSHORE...DUE TO GUSTY NORTHERLY
WINDS. THESE WINDS WILL ALSO BRING IN MUCH DRIER AIR...WHICH MAY
LEAD TO FIRE WEATHER CONCERNS FOR NORTH INTERIOR SECTIONS EARLY
NEXT WEEK.

.SPOTTER INFORMATION STATEMENT...
SPOTTER ACTIVATION WILL NOT BE NEEDED TODAY.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128871
155. Ivansrvivr
3:15 PM GMT on March 22, 2008
I do agree with CC that the severe threat is more like our typical summer severe threat. Still there is a warm front moving northward and that will produce some turning of winds at different heights. I still think that heavy rain and lightning are the biggest concern.
154. Ivansrvivr
3:12 PM GMT on March 22, 2008
Possibly in the areas south and east of the solid area of rain that is moving E from Tampa. The sun has been out and it looks very unstable here.
153. Patrap
10:12 AM CDT on March 22, 2008
Thanks,.. all radars are useful tools.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128871
152. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
3:12 PM GMT on March 22, 2008
its building nicly cchs as for any severe maybe a couple of more hrs
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151. cchsweatherman
11:11 AM EDT on March 22, 2008
The main severe weather threats for Southern and Central Florida will be possible localized flooding, small hail, and dangerous lightning. I don't see these storms producing very strong winds or even tornadoes, although it can't be ruled out.
Member Since: April 14, 2007 Posts: 8 Comments: 5169
150. Ivansrvivr
3:10 PM GMT on March 22, 2008
All I have to do is look out the window. There will be showers and thunderstorms developing over Eastern Palm Beach Co anytime now.
149. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
3:08 PM GMT on March 22, 2008
hey pat heres a good site updates sats every 10 min updates radar every 4 to 6 mins
weatherTAP.com sign up for free trial or become a member for 6.95 a month
it has high def level 2 radar with lots of sat enhancements
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 174 Comments: 54630
148. hydrus
3:05 PM GMT on March 22, 2008
Ivansrvivr-Do you expect any severe weather asociated with that small low in the gulf when it moves across the state?
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147. cchsweatherman
11:06 AM EDT on March 22, 2008
Good morning all. Looks like we have a very nice setup for some much needed rainfall in Central and Southern Florida. I'm feeling quite a moisture surge moving northward here. Watching the satellite and radar imagery, I believe you are correct Ivansrvivr. This will be a very unsettled afternoon.
Member Since: April 14, 2007 Posts: 8 Comments: 5169
146. Patrap
10:06 AM CDT on March 22, 2008
16 frame GOM IR loop, PSU Link
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128871
145. Ivansrvivr
3:02 PM GMT on March 22, 2008
Look for it to fill in rapidly over the southern half of the Peninsula. Skies are darkening quickly here.
144. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
2:58 PM GMT on March 22, 2008
dbz running between 51 56 and increasing heavy showers with some thunder over and n of keys with building precip west of west coast precip totals for south fla running between 20 to 30 mm with up to 50 mm in storms
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143. Patrap
9:57 AM CDT on March 22, 2008
PSU Electronic E-Wall. Link
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142. Ivansrvivr
2:53 PM GMT on March 22, 2008
Between the precip already falling in Tampa and the skies here on the East Coast(photos on my blog), Lake O will get some good rains.
141. Patrap
9:46 AM CDT on March 22, 2008
U.S. Coastal Waters Forecasts by Zone - South - Key West, FL
Coastal Marine Zone Forecasts by the Key West, FL Forecast OfficeLink
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128871
140. BahaHurican
10:26 AM EDT on March 22, 2008
Hopefully quite a bit of the "punch" will fall into the Okeechobee bowl . . .
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 22357
139. Ivansrvivr
2:36 PM GMT on March 22, 2008
Tampa? we have 2 seabreeze fronts setting up on the east coast. With the sun shining bright, and the dynamics of the warm front, low in Gulf, there will be some nasty storms here very shortly. Likely popping up long before the west coast activity arrives.
138. Patrap
9:35 AM CDT on March 22, 2008
Cassini Spacecraft Finds Ocean May Exist Beneath Titan's Crust
Story: Link
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137. Patrap
9:26 AM CDT on March 22, 2008
Tops to 43K noted



NEXRAD Radar
Tampa Echo Tops Range 124 NMI Link
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136. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
2:26 PM GMT on March 22, 2008
looks to be rain southern half of tampa south
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 174 Comments: 54630
135. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
2:21 PM GMT on March 22, 2008
as per high def level 2 radar some heavy storms dev over keys sw of fla mainland
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 174 Comments: 54630
134. eaglesrock
2:14 PM GMT on March 22, 2008
Don't have be big to sucker-punch. . .

Exactly...the latest Weatherwise magazine has an article about the little clipper that dropped a foot of snow in NE PA.
133. Patrap
9:09 AM CDT on March 22, 2008
Its a Short Wave in the GOM,nothing more.

AREA FORECAST DISCUSSION FOR THE FLORIDA KEYS
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE KEY WEST FL
1015 AM EDT SAT MAR 22 2008


.DISCUSSION...IN THE MID AND UPPER LEVELS...LATEST AVAILABLE
SATELLITE IMAGERY OVERLAYED WITH STREAMLINE ANALYSIS AS OF 900 AM
DEPICT A FAIRLY STRONG BRANCH OF THE JET TRAVERSING ACROSS THE
SOUTHERN CONUS. THE MAIN AXIS OF AN IDENTIFIABLE SHORT WAVE IS NOW
STREAMING WITHIN THE FLOW AND BISECTS THE GULF OF
MEXICO...APPROACHING THE FLORIDA KEYS.


GOM IR Loop of the Shear ..and the Poofiness.

IR Loop Link

GOM Low Cloud Product ..Link
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132. 1900hurricane
8:12 AM CST on March 22, 2008
It looks like that storm blew up quite fast!

Link
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131. BahaHurican
10:11 AM EDT on March 22, 2008
Don't have be big to sucker-punch. . .
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 22357
130. 1900hurricane
8:02 AM CST on March 22, 2008
You mean that little thing? LOL! It looks quite wet just looking at the long-range radar out of Tampa. The echo intenseity will only increase as the rain gets closer to the radar base, allowing it to be picked up better.

Link
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129. eaglesrock
2:01 PM GMT on March 22, 2008
The Mid-Atlantic will get slammed with severe weather and 60-80 degree temps next weekend if the DGEX model is right. Just look at those high humidities moving in at 700 and 850 mb, and those temps!


128. BahaHurican
9:53 AM EDT on March 22, 2008
Looks like Tampa area and points south are going to get slammed later this morning . ..
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 22357
127. BahaHurican
9:24 AM EDT on March 22, 2008
Morning all.

Be aware; there is a high probability that either the models have ingested some hallucinagenic substance, or the model users have . . .

LOL

I'm just hoping the low in the Gulf goes far enough north of us to keep the day fairly sunny in the north central Bahamas.
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 22357
126. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
1:25 PM GMT on March 22, 2008
i'll be the first to say it dont pay attention to cmc its on crack
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 174 Comments: 54630
125. eaglesrock
1:06 PM GMT on March 22, 2008
Wow, didn't notice that the GFS had one already...maybe tropical season is upon us! LOL!!!!
124. TerraNova
9:01 AM EDT on March 22, 2008
LOL...CMC tropical storm!

Morning eaglesrock.

I see that CMC is already beginning to over develop storms LOL. The chances of that occuring are just about as likely as the tropical system the GFS wants to develop out 384 hours near Cape Verde.
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123. TerraNova
8:59 AM EDT on March 22, 2008
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122. Ivansrvivr
12:49 PM GMT on March 22, 2008
If these so-called models are based on previous weather,(which is what I understand them to be) how could it think there will be tropical activity anytime in the next 3 months? Even the CMC shouldn't be doing that now. That usually starts about May.
121. eaglesrock
12:42 PM GMT on March 22, 2008
No, this is the fantasyland of the long-range CMC.
120. Ivansrvivr
12:36 PM GMT on March 22, 2008
Is that CMC model picking up the extratropical low forming in the Gulf currently or is that something later on? (Not that I'd put much stock in the CMC just yet)
119. eaglesrock
12:34 PM GMT on March 22, 2008
LOL...CMC tropical storm!

118. TampaSpin
12:08 PM GMT on March 22, 2008
12hours GFS

24hours GFS
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117. TampaSpin
11:58 AM GMT on March 22, 2008
Heavy moisture lurking off shore.....
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116. Ivansrvivr
11:42 AM GMT on March 22, 2008
I disagree with Altesic's forecast. While I dont get into numbers of named storms I believe it will be average to slightly above numberswise but the all important tracks(which is what really matters) I am tending to think will favor the Eastern Seaboard. Florida is not out of the woods but points north are the more likely candidates for a major landfall this year.
115. Ivansrvivr
11:29 AM GMT on March 22, 2008
STL, looking at the subsurface anomalies in the Pacific, I won't be surprised if by the end of Hurricane Season 08 we are in a full fledged El Nino. Maybe a strong one not long after. As the warmer waters are upwelled, the summer sun will have a rapid warming effect on the Pacific. I know the Forecast models are still in the "neutral to Nina" area, but look at the Models 3 months ago, 2 months ago, & last month. There is a definite & consistent upward trend. Continue that trend another 2 months and your'e fairly well into El Nino territory by the end of the season. It will still take time for the effects of this La Nina to dissipate, and I doubt a total shift to El Nino will occur before late 08 Hurricane season but the writing is on the wall for an El Nino by 09. A weakening La Nina to Neutral pattern will make for a nasty season along the Eastern Seaboard.
114. KoritheMan
11:13 AM GMT on March 22, 2008
Currently, the atmosphere itself is still very strongly in a La Nina state (at record levels accoring to one index), but that appears to be the only thing sustaining it right now, since warmer than normal water is already being upwelled (the surface water is normally warmer than the subsurface water, so even warmer than normal subsurface water can still cool the surface, but not as easily and it gets harder as the subsurface warms, which may eventually break down the atmsopheric circulation).

Are you saying that El NiƱo may develop? Or at least ENSO neutral conditions?

ive had this prediction for 2008 since sept 2007, im not backing out of it now

Look who just earned himself the ignore list. This is something I was hoping to avoid this year (heck, I'm even hoping to avoid the westcasters that want destruction, so don't feel bad), but alas, that's obviously too much to ask for.

Just watch what you say on here.
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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.