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NWS Forecast: “Significant” Flooding Along Mississippi River

Brett Blume
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ST. LOUIS (KMOX) -  The National Weather Service is out with its annual “Spring Flood Outlook“, and it contains some potentially alarming numbers for those who live and work near major rivers.

Mark Fuchs, NWS hydrologist with the St. Louis office, says the outlook for most of the smaller tributaries throughout the region doesn’t look too bad for the next 90 days.

“But when you look along the Mississippi River…holy cow!,” Fuchs tells KMOX News.

So what’s in the report to prompt that kind of reaction from a seasoned forecaster?

“We’re looking at the likely development of moderate to major flooding at all points along the Mississippi,” Fuchs explains.  “From Canton through Quincy, Hannibal…all the way down to Alton.”

For comparison purposes, Fuchs points out that this year’s forecast is even more dire than the one for spring 2008.

“That doesn’t mean we’re gonna have worse flooding (than ’08), of course,” he hastens to add, “because we’re talking about the period February, March and April (of ’11).  Of course in 2008, major flooding took place in June and July.”

The NWS reports also calls for a “near even or greater than even chance” of flooding along most of the rivers in the St. Louis area, except for the Gasconade and Maries rivers, where “below average chances” of flooding are indicated.

The Spring Flood Outlook was actually drafted and finalized before this most recent storm and additional precipitation, and Fuchs says that certainly won’t help the situation.

Further complicating matters is the fact that precipitation totals are expected to be higher than normal during the month of February.

snow water equivlent e1296747397919 NWS Forecast: Significant Flooding Along Mississippi River

Snow Water Equivalent Image. (Courtesy of NOHRSC)

But the biggest factor for potential local flooding lies hundreds of miles north in Minnesota, and to a lesser extent in Wisconsin and Iowa.

They’ve all experienced heavier than usual snowfall, and Fuchs points out that all of that will eventually melt and drain into the Mississippi, building up as it moves downstream and creating the likelihood of “significant flooding” from Canton to Winfield, Missouri.

<< READ THE FULL NWS REPORT HERE>>

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