Spring flooding hits Midwest; Southeast drought eases

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

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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5:32 PM GMT on March 21, 2008
it will ride below 28.0n
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62. TerraNova
1:28 PM EDT on March 21, 2008
Here's the center of circulation. The NWS forecast for the Tampa area is calling for 40% chance T-Storms tomorrow at the moment. The chance increases farther south.

Member Since: July 30, 2007 Posts: 76 Comments: 4063
5:21 PM GMT on March 21, 2008
i got it on floater 4km g8 vis ir its intersecting at
track point 90w/23.9n small compact little system coming here watch it now
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60. TheCaneWhisperer
4:44 PM GMT on March 21, 2008
The surface low is just exiting the northern coast of the Yucatan. Hopefully that can increase the coverage of rain in South Florida this weekend, especially in the North and Western sections of Lake O.
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58. surfmom
3:34 PM GMT on March 21, 2008
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57. surfmom
3:32 PM GMT on March 21, 2008
Oh Storm, you are the bearer of GOOD NEWS!
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53. surfmom
1:55 PM GMT on March 21, 2008
Well the newspaper gives me 30%, WU gives 40% -- oh well
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52. surfmom
1:25 PM GMT on March 21, 2008
If the rain comes into to SWFL in the PM early/ AM, Polo games should go on, the fields are very dry so the grass will drink up the water. plus they have an interesting drainage watering system. (Unique in the States) SRQ Polo Club can water the fields from underground, but they can also drain the fields --like a vacuum if they need to. Problem is playing in the rain is very dicey. The grass gets slippery, and the horses shoes (if they don't have spikes) can slip on the wet. Often they call the games off, but sometimes they "push it" (in a mother's opinion) So I guess I am wishcasting for that rain to come in tonight and be gone with enough time for safe fields tomorrow by 1:00PM LOL.
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51. TampaSpin
1:20 PM GMT on March 21, 2008
Looks like heavy rain coming....looking at some models...This is a 48 Hour pic of the GFS model.
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50. surfmom
1:21 PM GMT on March 21, 2008
hmmmmm, we need the rain...timing is everything
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48. TerraNova
9:16 AM EDT on March 21, 2008
Member Since: July 30, 2007 Posts: 76 Comments: 4063
47. surfmom
1:11 PM GMT on March 21, 2008
what are we seeing for Saturday in the SRQ/Tampa area.......kid has a veryimportant polo game (horses)
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46. TampaSpin
12:59 PM GMT on March 21, 2008
A surface Low pressure is developing in the GOM. This could make for some interesting weather for Florida Saturday and Sunday.
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45. Rainman32
7:51 AM EDT on March 21, 2008
Deadly Rains in the U.S. Midwest

This image shows rainfall totals for March 13-20, 2008, based on output from the near-real-time, Multi-satellite Precipitation Analysis (MPA) at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. The analysis is based in part on data from the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite. Rain extends from central Texas northeastward up into southern Pennsylvania. The highest rainfall totals (shown in red) are about 200 millimeters (about 8 inches) and are located over western Arkansas. A broad area of rainfall of at least 100 mm (about 4 inches, shown in yellow) covers most of southern Missouri, northwestern Arkansas, and eastern Oklahoma, with embedded higher amounts on the order 150 mm (about 6 inches, shown in orange). TRMM does not observe rainfall with the same level of detail as ground-based rain gauges or weather radars; instead it sees a broad area at one time. Locally, there were reports of up to a foot of rain in parts of Missouri. At least 13 deaths were being blamed on the weather, and numerous rivers were at or above flood stage across the Midwest. More...

NASA images by Hal Pierce (SSAI/NASA GSFC). Caption by Steve Lang (SSAI/NASA GSFC).

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44. Spetrm
11:11 AM GMT on March 21, 2008
A flood in the mid-west. Wow theres some news I'v never heard before.
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43. G35Wayne
11:06 AM GMT on March 21, 2008
Good morning from the two tone talk club!!!!!!!!!
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42. beell
10:58 AM GMT on March 21, 2008
Good day for a touch of "Fridayitis" on the Gulf Coast:

302 AM CDT FRI MAR 21 2008

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41. CCTXangel
12:14 AM CDT on March 21, 2008
For those of you who have a main portrait picture, i can't get mine to replace the default one. I uploaded it, but can't figure out how to make it my portrait.

Help anyone????
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40. CCTXangel
5:04 AM GMT on March 21, 2008
Anyone still online on the message board? :)
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4:45 AM GMT on March 21, 2008
low pressure over yuc at the end of frontal boundry should generate an area of disturb weather over fla pens. starting 00z sun at the moment most should be confine south of tampa with most intense areas off west coast then trackin eastward over lower pen rain totals near 15 to 25 mm in heavy showers possible
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38. Tazmanian
8:57 PM PDT on March 20, 2008
Statement as of 10:14 PM CDT on March 20, 2008

The Flood Warning continues for
the Mississippi River at St. Louis
* until Sunday evening.
* At 10:00 PM Thursday the stage was 30.7 feet.
* Minor flooding is occurring and minor flooding is forecast.
* Flood stage is 30.0 feet.
* Forecast... the river is expected to crest near 31.2 feet tomorrow
* Impact... at 31.0 feet... water begins entering the downtown parking
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5101 Comments: 118233
37. sullivanweather
11:12 PM EDT on March 20, 2008
Caribou, ME breaks their seasonal snowfall record tonight. Could tally over 200" before the season is over.

At 8:50pm Caribou, ME has recored 181.8" of snow thus far this winter after 9.9" from this most recent storm, breaking the old record of 181.1" of snow set during the winter of 1954-55.
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35. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
3:01 AM GMT on March 21, 2008
Japan Meteorological Agency

Earthquake Information (Earthquake Information)
Issued at 07:59 JST 21 Mar 2008

Time & Date: 07:33 JST 21 Mar 2008
-------------------17:33 CDT 20 Mar 2008

Location: 35.8N 81.4E
Depth: 30km
Magnitude: 7.1
Region of World: WESTERN CHINA
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34. sullivanweather
10:31 PM EDT on March 20, 2008

In the Himalayas, huh?

Rebound from lost glaciers? lol
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32. Patrap
9:28 PM CDT on March 20, 2008
Most Likely...Looks to be in a remote are .
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 449 Comments: 139980
30. Patrap
9:22 PM CDT on March 20, 2008
It occurred two Hours ago..
Thursday, March 20, 2008 at 07:26:13 PM (CDT)
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 449 Comments: 139980
28. Patrap
9:21 PM CDT on March 20, 2008
Updated to 5.2Link

Update time = Fri Mar 21 2:19:05 UTC 2008

y/m/d h:m:s LAT
deg LON
km Region
MAP 5.2 2008/03/21 00:26:14 35.318 81.295 10.0 XINJIANG-XIZANG
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 449 Comments: 139980
26. cchsweatherman
10:04 PM EDT on March 20, 2008
We may have to watch this rather small, but fascinating surface low off the Yucatan Peninsula over the next 24 to 48 hours to see how it reacts with the frontal boundary that passed through South Florida.
img src="Photobucket" alt="" />
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25. NorthxCakalaky
1:44 AM GMT on March 21, 2008
30%chance Monday for snow for portions of N.C.

The low should arrive in the morning hours.Depending on the track and still further down the road totals are unsure.
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24. hurricane23
9:43 PM EDT on March 20, 2008
19. stormhank 9:29 PM EDT on March 20, 2008
anyone herd any early predctions on 2008 hurricane season?

predictions?I think its best to put effort towards storm preps as nobody can tell you with good accuracy what areas are going to be impacted this upcoming tropical season.Predictions such as grays december update are just beyond ridiculous as its nearly impossible to even get an idea on what different atmospheric conditions will around 6-7 months out.Once early may comes around things will become a little more clear on what type of season we might have.

Iam just tired of all these predictions all over the place the best thing you can do is just be ready come june 1. Only takes 1.

I prefer pinning a map of the Tropical Atlantic on a dart board.

Member Since: May 14, 2006 Posts: 8 Comments: 13868
23. Patrap
8:40 PM CDT on March 20, 2008
Technical Summary of the National Hurricane Center Track and Intensity Models Link
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 449 Comments: 139980
22. surfmom
1:38 AM GMT on March 21, 2008
Early work tomorrow, wondering about the life spanof that blob in the gomex, G'nght
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21. surfmom
1:32 AM GMT on March 21, 2008
hummmmm, Gom looks interesting for getting waves, but how will it affect the Sunday Polo games?

This season has been hell with all the wind - extra work for horse and rider.
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20. sullivanweather
9:30 PM EDT on March 20, 2008

If you'd like to read my early forecast you can view it here
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19. stormhank
1:27 AM GMT on March 21, 2008
anyone herd any early predctions on 2008 hurricane season?
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18. Patrap
8:17 PM CDT on March 20, 2008
GOM IR loop Link
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 449 Comments: 139980
15. surfmom
12:06 AM GMT on March 21, 2008
My son just helped me get this East coast of FL photo on the blog --(I am so computer illiterate) --but --check out that wave!!! so this is what a moderate high pressure system maintaining a tight pressure gradient across the N. Atlantic produces! I am so stoked to match the description with the result --better yet I get to understand how the weather makes the waves, just love this blog, just love weather -
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14. surfmom
12:02 AM GMT on March 21, 2008
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Dr. Masters co-founded wunderground in 1995. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters 1986-1990. Co-blogging with him: Bob Henson, @bhensonweather

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