The American Midwest and northern Plains are preparing for continued flooding, with the threat of above average rainfall expected to continue through the summer, says the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Weather Service, who believe that flooding this year could rival the Great Flood of 1993.
Rivers are already running high, and the soils are saturated with water, which means that even a little bit of rain could trigger further flooding in and around locations which have already seen flooding this year.
NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center is also forecasting above-normal rain for most of these vulnerable areas in the next two weeks, and above-normal rainfall in much of the region in the one- and three-month outlooks.
In addition, with increasing temperatures expected over the Rockies, the water melt from the remaining snowpack will makes its way down the mountains and into the already swamped rivers.
“The sponge is fully saturated – there is nowhere for any additional water to go,” said Jack Hayes, Ph.D., director of NOAA’s National Weather Service. “While unusual for this time of year, all signs point to the flood threat continuing through summer.”
In 1993, flooding wracked the upper Midwest and saw record-breaking floods persist through April to August, causing $25 billion worth of damages (adjusted for inflation) in nine states.
“The flooding that many Americans have already experienced this spring is a crucial reminder of just how devastating floods can be,” said FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate.
“As this forecast tells us, the response to this year’s flooding is going to be a long effort – but we will be standing with all of the affected states, communities and families every step of the way. And this will continue to be a team effort – with the government working hand in hand with all of our partners, including states, tribal and local governments, non-profits, the private sector and most importantly, the public. If you haven’t already, visit ready.gov to learn more about how you can protect your loved ones, homes and other properties from flooding, including by purchasing flood insurance.”
The areas most in danger of flooding 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
NOAA is offering the following flood safety tips:
- Determine whether your community is in a flood-risk area and continue monitoring local flood conditions at water.weather.gov
- Visit www.ready.gov for flood preparedness advice to safeguard your family, home and possessions and for more information about the National Flood Insurance Program.
- Purchase a NOAA Weather Radio receiver with battery power option to stay apprised of quickly changing weather information.
- Study evacuation routes in advance and heed evacuation orders.
- Turn Around, Don’t Drown – never cross flooded roads, no matter how well you know the area or how shallow you believe the water to be.
Given the many factors that have set the stage for this expected flooding, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has been working with states for months to prepare and respond to the expected flooding.