Wednesday, March 17, 2010

NOAA: Flood Threat Likely in the Next Few Weeks

In a report just released by NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), major flooding has begun and will continue to take place across the Northern Plains in the weeks and months ahead.

It's not so much from heavy rains, as much as it is the metling snowpack still on the ground.

"It's a terrible case of deja vu, but this time the flooding will likely be more widespread," says Jane Lubchenco, Ph.D., under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator.

"As the spring thaw melts the snowpack, saturated and frozen ground in the Midwest will exacerbate the flooding of the flat terrain and feed rising rivers and streams," she says.

This flood threat across the northern half of the country is due to El Nino, the same weather pattern which has provided us in East Texas with a colder and wetter than normal winter season.

Jack Hayes, Ph.D and director of NOAA's National Weather Service, says the extent and severity of the flooding will depend on no major rain events.

"In the South and East, where an El Nino-driven winter was very wet and white, spring flooding is more of a possibiltiy than a certainty and will largely be dependent upon the severity and duration of additional precipitation and how fast existing snow cover melts," he says.

While we have seen 3 snow events in East Texas, they were short-lived and all the snow was melted within one to two days after the event.

In the meantime, residents in the upper Midwest will have to pray and hope that the major creeks, rivers, and streams, stay below flood stage. It would sure help if they could also avoid any heavy rainfall events in the near future.

**This article was written with excerpts from NOAA. If you'd like to read more on this topic, please visit their website at **