NOAA Says US Should Brace For Historic, Widespread Flooding

March 21, 2019 by Dan McCue
This map depicts the locations where there is a greater than 50-percent chance of major, moderate or minor flooding during March through May, 2019. (NOAA)

Nearly two-thirds of the lower 48 states face the prospect of unprecedented major flooding over the next several weeks, U.S. weather officials said Thursday.

The dire forecast is the focal point of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s latest spring weather outlook.

It says 25 states could see major or moderate flooding through May, and that the majority of the country is expected to experience above-average rainfall during the period, increasing the flood risk.

Record winter precipitation across a large swath of the country has set the stage for the elevated flood risk.

Major flooding is now occurring in Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota and other states in the upper Mississippi and Missouri River basins.

This early flooding was caused by rapid snow melt combined with heavy spring rain and late season snowfall in areas where soil moisture is high. In some areas, ice jams are exacerbating the flooding, NOAA said.

Ed Clark, director of NOAA’s National Water Center in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, said the flooding that’s already occurring will only become more dire over time, and may be exacerbated in the coming weeks as the water flows downstream.

“This is shaping up to be a potentially unprecedented flood season, with more than 200 million people at risk for flooding in their communities,” Clark said.

Additional spring rain and melting snow will prolong and expand flooding, especially in the central and southern United States. As this excess water flows downstream through the river basins, the flood threat will become worse and geographically more widespread.

Much of the U.S. east of the Mississippi River and portions of California and Nevada are at risk for minor flooding, the NOAA report said.

While much of the country will be dealing with rain and floods, scattered areas of the Southwest, Southeast and Pacific Northwest are abnormally dry.

Currently, the worst drought conditions in the U.S. are in northern New Mexico, the report said. Drought will also persist through spring in southern Alaska and Oregon, and may develop in Hawaii.

The outlook closes with a look at potential springtime temperatures.

NOAA is forecasting warmer-than-average temperatures to extend from the Pacific Northwest to the Central Rockies, and from southern Texas, northward through the Great Lakes and eastward to encompass the entire East Coast.

The greatest chance for above-average temperatures exist in Alaska, the Northeast and mid-Atlantic. The interior of the U.S. from the Dakotas southward to northern Texas are favored to have below-average temperatures this spring, report said.

In The News

Health

Voting

Environment

Cherry Blossom Peak Bloom Date Announced
District of Columbia
Cherry Blossom Peak Bloom Date Announced
March 2, 2021
by TWN Staff

WASHINGTON - It’s hard to believe it’s almost that time of year again, but on Monday came word that the peak bloom for the cherry blossoms ringing the Tidal Basin in Washington is currently expected to occur April 2-5.  That means the most vivid of blooms... Read More

Decline in Emissions and Transportation Sector Energy Demand in 2020
Climate
Decline in Emissions and Transportation Sector Energy Demand in 2020
February 24, 2021
by Reece Nations

Although 2020 was an economically woeful year due to the coronavirus pandemic, a joint report by BloombergNEF and the Business Council for Sustainable Energy indicates renewable energy sources made record contributions to the country’s power grid.  The annual report, called the Sustainable Energy in America Factbook,... Read More

Interior Nominee Haaland Vows 'Balance' on Energy, Climate
Political News
Interior Nominee Haaland Vows 'Balance' on Energy, Climate

WASHINGTON (AP) — Oil and natural gas will continue to play a major role in America for years to come, even as the Biden administration seeks to conserve public lands and address climate change, President Joe Biden's nominee to head the Interior Department pledges.Deb Haaland, a... Read More

BOEM Cancels Planned Gulf of Mexico Lease Sale
Energy
BOEM Cancels Planned Gulf of Mexico Lease Sale
February 16, 2021
by TWN Staff

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management on Friday cancelled an oil and gas exploration lease sale for a sizable swath of the Gulf of Mexico. Lease Sale 257, which was scheduled to be live-streamed from New Orleans on March 17, would have been the eighth offshore... Read More

Researchers Highlight the Need to Build Data to Tackle Marine Debris
Environment
Researchers Highlight the Need to Build Data to Tackle Marine Debris
February 16, 2021
by Daniel Mollenkamp

WASHINGTON - The Wilson Center, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank, on Wednesday morning hosted an event explaining the complexities of measuring the presence of marine debris in the environment, focusing on the need to collect more data.  Measuring the problem at hand is linked to managing... Read More

Rep. Peters Reintroduces Water Recycling Legislation for City of San Diego
Environment
Rep. Peters Reintroduces Water Recycling Legislation for City of San Diego
January 29, 2021
by Sara Wilkerson

SAN DIEGO, Calif. - This week, Rep. Scott Peters, D-Calif., reintroduced the bipartisan Ocean Pollution Reduction Act II, legislation that simplifies the city of San Diego’s required permitting process to operate the Point Loma Wastewater Treatment Plant. The legislation will solidify the region’s water security and... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top