Forecasters Hope for Dry Conditions, Slow Snowmelt

Feb 13, 2020

For the second year in a row, the risk of major flooding on the Mississippi River is high. Today, the National Weather Service in the Quad Cities released its first Spring Flood Outlook.

Michelle O'Neill reports the agency held a press conference at its office in Davenport following last year's record flood. 


Screenshot from the First Spring Flood Outlook
Credit Quad Cities National Weather Service

Hydrologist, Jessica Brooks, says compared to this time last year, more snow is on the ground in Minnesota and Wisconsin.

And its water content is high. So, she's 95% confident moderate flooding will occur on the Mississippi River. And despite a slide that shows 50% confidence in major flooding, Brooks says it's a lot closer to 95% for several locations between Dubuque and Keokuk. 

But, Brooks says this winter in the Quad Cities has been warmer with less snow. And the soil is not as saturated and frozen as last year. In addition, major flooding is not forecast for most local tributaries. 

(file)
Credit WVIK News

Sarah Jones is Chief of Emergency Management for the Corps of Engineers Rock Island District.

She says the National Flood Fight Materiel Center, based on Arsenal Island, offers technical assistance and advice, plus equipment and supplies.

Personnel have already held one training on HESCO barriers for Davenport Public Works employees. 

Here's an example of the Spring Flood Forecast for the Mississippi in the Quad Cities. Historically, the chance of major flooding is 22%, on average. But under current conditions, it's more than 95%. 

The Quad Cities National Weather Service will release its second Spring Flood Outlook in two weeks (2/27/20).