First Flood Outlook

February  26, 2013

     The potential for flooding the Mississippi River this spring is now considered to be normal, or slightly below normal. In its first flood outlook for the year, the National Weather Service says there's a 36 per cent chance the river will reach flood stage in the Quad Cities, and a 26 per cent chance it will rise one foot over flood stage.

     Maren Stoflet, hydrologist with the weather service in Davenport, says soil moisture is below normal but winter precipitation, rain and snow together, are now at above normal levels. So the real "wild card" is the frozen ground and how quickly it will thaw this spring - if the ground stays frozen then more rain and melting snow will run off and cause flooding.

     Stoflet says snow levels in Minnesota and Wisconsin have finally reached normal levels thanks to recent storms in the upper midwest. 

     The first outlook shows a 55 per cent chance the Rock River will reach flood stage in the Quad Cities, and a 37 per cent chance it will rise one foot higher.  The forecast also includes just a 9 per chance the Maquoketa River will reach flood stage at Maquoketa, but a 54 per cent chance the Wapsi River will reach flood stage at Dewitt.  And she emphasizes the predictions are based on current conditions - with normal rainfall and spring-time temperatures in the coming months.