Mississippi River Flood Risk Remains High
The latest spring flood outlook continues to show the risk is increasing and "well above normal" for the Mississippi River.
The latest spring flood outlook continues to show the risk is increasing and "well above normal" for the Mississippi River. The Quad Cities National Weather Service also says for tributaries, the flood risk continues to be normal, but it is increasing.
Hydrologist, Matthew Wilson, says the snowpack in the northern Mississippi River basin has not melted very much. That means warm, spring rains could melt it very quickly, sending a large amount of water into rivers all at once.
"We don't want to warm up for heavy rainfall near the end of March. That's kind of our worst case scenario. And then we really want normal precipitation. We know no heavy events know multiple convective event back to back. So that, you know, just it allows that snowmelt to come through and enter the area and exit the area before we start pouring more water onto it.
The good news is for the first time, the forecast is for below average precipitation for the rest of March. Wilson says the bad news is temperatures will be below average.
And now's the time for municipalities to dust off their flood plans and gather materials needed to fight a flood.
"For everybody else, you know it's spring season. So far as flooding goes, it's probably time to get in there and dig out the ditches and culverts. Make sure that they're not being blocked up. So when we do get some of those spring rains and some of the snow melts off, it's got, unfettered access to the the drainage systems that were designed for it."
Two weeks ago, the chance of major flooding (18 feet) was 69% at Lock and Dam 15 in the Quad Cities. It's now 82%. The chance of moderate flooding (16 feet) is now more than 95% (see main photo above).
Today, the Mississippi in the Quad Cities (at Lock and Dam 15) is 8.4 feet below flood stage. It's forecast to rise slightly and remain steady at 8.6 feet below flood stage through the middle of next week.