Thursday, July 7, 2011

NOAA: Widespread Flood Threats to Continue Through Summer in Upper Midwest and Northern Plains

NOAA’s National Weather Service announced on July 6 that many rivers in the upper Midwest and northern Plains remain above flood stage, and the threat for more flooding will continue throughout the remainder of the summer, as the likelihood of more soaking rains in already flooded regions points to a 2011 flooding scenario that could rival that of 1993, when flood-related damages topped $25 billion (adjusted for inflation). NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center has forecast above-average rainfall in much of the upper Midwest and northern Plains over the next two weeks, and above-average rainfall in much of that region in both its one- and three-month weather outlooks.  “The sponge is fully saturated – there is nowhere for any additional water to go,” said Jack Hayes, director of NOAA’s National Weather Service. “While unusual for this time of year, all signs point to the flood threat continuing through summer.”

NOAA notes that throughout the remainder of the summer, the highest flood risk areas include:
  • North Central U.S. including Souris River (North Dakota) and Red River of the North (border of North Dakota and Minnesota), Minnesota River (Minnesota), Upper Mississippi River (Minnesota and Iowa), and Des Moines River (Iowa)
  • Lower Missouri River from Gavin’s Point (Nebraska and South Dakota border) downstream along the border of Nebraska and Iowa, continuing through the borders of Kansas and Missouri then through Missouri to the Mississippi River
  • Tributaries to the Lower Missouri including the James and Big Sioux Rivers in North Dakota
  • Lower Ohio River Valley including the White, Wabash and lower Ohio River
  • East of Rockies: North Platte River in Colorado, Wyoming and Nebraska and Yellowstone River in Wyoming and Montana
  • West of Rockies: Utah and Colorado
To read more details, please see this NOAA news release on the topic.

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