Threat for a big Mississippi River flood remains high

Our extreme winter season may lead to a significant flood season this Spring.

Winter 2018/2019 will be remembered for its significant cold and snowy weather. That pattern is not in line with recent winters that have seen warmer-than-normal temperatures and limited snowfall. Our unusual pattern of cold and snow is a direct result of extreme warming from the tropics, up into Alaska and Northern Canada.

Temperatures were near the all-time record lows on January 31, 2019.

That pattern is expected to continue for at least the next 1-2 weeks, which is ominous for two reasons.

  1. We remain in a wintry pattern, instead of one that is transitioning into spring storm season. This will keep the severe weather and tornado events in the southern states from Texas, through Dixie.
  2. With more wintry weather in the Plains and Midwest, we're adding to the snowpack upstream. As we pass through each calendar day, we run the risk of a knee-jerk warm-up sometime in late March which could cause a lot of the snow to melt quickly...filling rivers fast.

In a typical Winter, we see a regular freeze-thaw cycle which allows us to melt off snow as we receive it. There are times we see bare ground for days and weeks at a time, followed by more snowfall.

This year, we have seen only two thaws (multiple days above freezing). That's important to look at, especially knowing that 150-200% of normal snow fell to our north.

While Mississippi River flooding is not expected to be extreme for a few more weeks, I believe we are at a high risk of significant flooding in late March, lasting into April. If you have interests along the river or live along it, be ready. This could be a significant.

-Meteorologist Eric Sorensen

Flooding downtown Davenport, photo shared by Wesley Bengtson, 7-6-14

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