Increased risk of spring flooding in central and southeastern states
Major to moderate flooding is likely this spring from the Northern Plains southward to the Gulf Coast, with the greatest risk in the upper and middle Mississippi River basin, the Missouri River basin, and the Red River of the North, said the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on Thursday. NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center forecasts above-average temperatures nationwide and above-average precipitation in the central and eastern states.
“Ongoing rainfall, highly saturated soil, and an enhanced likelihood for above-normal precipitation this spring contribute to the increased chances for flooding across the central and southeastern United States,” said NOAA’s spring outlook. The agency, part of the Commerce Department, said it did not expect flooding to be as severe or prolonged as last year.
NOAA said its flood risk outlook was based on the evaluation of a number of factors, including snowpack, drought, soil moisture, frost depth, stream flow, and precipitation. Soil moisture is already at high levels across the central United States, and many rivers are at elevated levels in the central and eastern states, so heavy rainfall could trigger flooding in those areas.
Drought is expected to expand throughout California in the months ahead, said the spring outlook. Drought was also forecast to persist in the central and southern Rocky Mountains, the Southern Plains, southern Texas, and portions of the Pacific Northwest.