NOAA’s Spring Outlook report looks at what areas may be at risk for severe weather as it hopes to build a "weather-ready nation."
Winter is officially over, and as the country thaws out over the next several weeks, assessing spring flood risk is one of NOAA’s top priorities.
"NOAA produces these seasonal outlooks to help communities prepare for what’s likely to come in the next few months and minimize weather’s impact on lives and livelihoods … and build a weather-ready nation," says Maureen O’Leary, public affairs specialist with NOAA.
Because the Midwest is emerging from a colder-than-normal weather, flooding risks may take their time to emerge, explains Robert Hartman, acting director of NOAA’s Office of Hydrologic Development.
"Much of the United States is still in a deep freeze," he says. "The continuation of winter weather, along with above-average snowpack, frozen ground and ice coverage on springs and rivers will delay spring flooding into April in the upper Midwest through New England."
Minor to moderate flooding is likely along much of the upper Midwest, with the severity dependent on snowmelt speed and the intensity of spring precipitation, he says. Notable areas of risk include southern Wisconsin, southern Michigan, and portions of Iowa, Illinois and Indiana.
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Other flood-risk areas include:
- Small streams and rivers in the lower Missouri basin in Missouri and Eastern Kansas
- The Red River of the North between eastern North Dakota and northwest Minnesota, and the Souris River in North Dakota
- The northern Rockies and northern Great Plains in portions of Montana, and Wyoming
- The lower Mississippi River basin and in the Southeast, including east Texas, southern Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, northern Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, eastern Tennessee, and southern Virginia