Climatologist: Flooding depends on snow melt, spring rain timing

2014-02-19T12:58:00Z 2014-02-19T14:15:58Z Climatologist: Flooding depends on snow melt, spring rain timingThe Associated Press The Associated Press
February 19, 2014 12:58 pm  • 

DES MOINES — With snow still on the ground and spring just a month away concerns that snow melt and spring rain could happen all at once causing flooding are increasing.

State Climatologist Harry Hillaker says Iowa ground remains solidly frozen with frost reaching 33 inches, twice the depth one would expect this time of year. That means any rainfall runs off the ground. He says the later freezing temperatures stay the more likely snowmelt will come as spring rain sets in, which could increase flood chances.

National Weather Service Hydrologist Jeff Zogg says it doesn't appear all the factors line up for a significant flood event in Iowa, but timing of the spring thaw and rainfall is everything.

The weather service releases its spring flood outlook on Thursday.

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(7) Comments

  1. snowman05
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    snowman05 - February 19, 2014 5:48 pm
    Same people a few months ago said no chance of flooding. Little john keep telling us the sky is falling. I know we aren't enlightened like you.
  2. longjohn412
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    longjohn412 - February 19, 2014 3:37 pm
    February 19, 2014
    Continental US

    Area Covered By Snow: - 31.2%

    Average depth - 5.8"

    Rainfall equivalent - 1/2"

    Upper Midwest Zone (noern Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, the Dakotas and eastern Montana

    Average Depth - 7.7"

    Rainfall equivalent - 5/8"

    Doesn't look nearly as bad as your purely anecdotal evidence .....

    BTW freezing and melting in the Great Lakes has little or no effect on flooding, it's not like new water is magically created in the freezing and thawing process ,,,,,, Plus the rivers all flow INTO the lakes not out of them ....
  3. longjohn412
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    longjohn412 - February 19, 2014 3:26 pm
    Note that during the same time period the British experienced wetter weather is the same period we've had recod flooding and more importantly flooding after Memorial Day.

    The Science of the Polar Vortex and Jet Stream

    http://climatestate.com/2014/01/07/the-science-of-the-polar-vortex-and-jet-stream/

  4. longjohn412
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    longjohn412 - February 19, 2014 3:07 pm
    Sure looks like Global Warming to me .... really really BAD Global Warming in the Arctic .......

    Polar Vortex Ripped in Half by Anomalous Jet Stream, High Arctic Experiencing 32 Degree F Above Average Temperatures Over Broad Region

    Jan 27, 2014

    A dangerous and weather-wrecking polar heat amplification in the Arctic set off by human-caused global warming keeps kicking into higher and higher gear…

    What models predicted earlier this week and what we reported on Thursday has finally happened. A major influx of record-breaking winter warmth has flooded into the high Arctic, disrupting the polar vortex to the point that it is currently ripped in twain.

    Average temperatures over a broad area of the north polar region are ********* now in excess of 20 degrees Celsius (32 degrees Fahrenheit) above daily norms ********* for this time of year. Areas from Alaska to Norway to Greenland to the North Pole are experiencing record or near record highs. Meanwhile, the circumpolar Jet Stream has been malformed into an extraordinarily exaggerated north-south Rossby Wave pattern. An extreme amplification of a blocking pattern that has been in place for more than 10 months, pumping a continual flow of heat into the Arctic, and which, this winter, has resulted in numerous North American cold snaps comparable to those that used to happen in the 1980s and 1990s.
  5. longjohn412
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    longjohn412 - February 19, 2014 2:54 pm
    We haven't had a major Snow Melt related flood since 2001 when the Bush Misadministratrion BULLIED Davenport into spending $100's of thousands on a floodwall study so they could build a tiny one for a PRIVATELY OWNED water company ....

    Point being snowmelt isn't really part of the Dynamic anymore, what does count are the Spring rains which have been causing floods well past the traditional flooding season of April and early May .... Frankly is this Jet Stream Anonmaly styays in place, and all indications are it's going to do exactly that, then we are in for yet another year of late season flooding just like last when the Jet Stream Anomaly reappeared in May after a short hiatus .....

    I predict little or no flooding in April (snowmelt) but another round of record flooding for May and June into July ..... As bad or worse than last year .... The deciding factor is the Jet Stream Anomaly and whether it is still in place or not

  6. longjohn412
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    longjohn412 - February 19, 2014 2:41 pm
    No record warmth in California, Washington, Oregon, Alaska, Australia and Russia are the evidence of Global Warming

    The Great Lakes freezing like noraml 50-100 years ago is caused by the Jet Stream Anomaly which is most likely caused by Global Warming and the FACT that the Arctic is warming at twice the rate of the lower latitudes. TAhe Jet Stream is formed by the differences in temperature between the arctic and temperate zone, the bu\igger the temerature differential the straighter and faster the Jet Stream, the lower the temperature differential, as we are seeing now and a pretty much constantly since the record Arctic Ice Cap melt of 2012, the wavier and slower the Jet Stream which cause the cold Arctic air to drop into the Temperate Zone while the exact opposite is happening on the Russian side with warm air sliding up into the Arctic. That's why it's been wartmer most days in Alaska and Siberia than it has been here in the Midwest

    An example of this was the overall January average for the continental US .... Record warmth in the West offset the record cold in the east so we were on average only 0.1 degree F below the average .... Or in other words, a normal January on average

    Incoming solar heat that comes here and can't escape remains as heat, that's just part of the Laws of Thermodynamics and no amount of Wishful Thinking will change those FACTS .... We have a massive clearly measurable Energy Imbalance and in the current phase most of the excess heat is being absorbed into the oceans (which are part of the Earth and are thus Global so it's still Global Warming whether it's the atmosphere that is warming or the oceans, it's really all the same) but eventually the Oceans will give up that heat, for CONUS this is likely to happen in the form of an el Nino similar to the one in 1998 .... Maybe this summer or maybe next but it's coming and the longer that heat builds in the western Pacific, the worse it's going to be when it shifts to the eastern Pacific. Currently there is enough excess heat in the western Pacific that it is 17-19" higher than the eastern Pacific because of the simple FACT that warmer water takes up more volume

    It's called Global Warming .... Not Davenport Warming, not Iowa Warming, not USA Warming but GLOBAL Warming ... what is happening in your backyard represents a minute fraction of the total Globe

    It's as simple as that
  7. Klaatu
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    Klaatu - February 19, 2014 1:32 pm
    There is a humongous amount of snowpack and ice up north that will have to make its way down to the sea. Lake Superior is over 90% frozen, a modern record (in spite of "global warming"). It is not projected to be at normal temperatures until August, which is only a couple of weeks before the normal end of the summer season and the drastic cooling of the lake. It will have profound impact on the summer up north, on fishing and recreational boating. Lake temps will be low all summer and water levels will probably be high. The portages will be muddy and shorter because of high water. Should be decent fishing for the cold water species like Northern Pike, they love cold water. It makes them frisky. If it stays wet it will be a bad year for bugs.
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