The National Weather Service has released its spring flood outlook, and senior hydrologist Jeff Zogg says it’s something everyone should like. “The risk of flooding statewide across Iowa this spring, looking at the current conditions we have right now, indicates an average or below average risk of flooding. So definitely in better shape this year than we have been in the past couple of years,” Zogg says.
The last couple of winters we have seen lots of snow and records for the amount of time that snow stayed on the ground. That’s not the case this winter.”Snowpack across Iowa, and the Mississippi and Missouri basins above Iowa, so far this winter have been below average, so that tends to lesson the flood risk,” according to Zogg.
They also look at the soil moisture levels, which he says the levels have been near average to below average in northwest Iowa, where there is a drought. Those who experienced the record Missouri River flooding can maybe rest a little easier as one of the major factors that led to the flooding last year is not back.
“We’re looking at conditions in the Missouri River basin all the way to its headwaters in western Montana, and the current snowpack in the mountains across the upper Missouri basin is average to below average, with very little snow in the plains right now,” Zogg says. Heavy snowpack in the mountains last year led to large runoff that eventually turned into the water that flooded the areas along the Missouri River.
Zogg says changes are ahead in the way the NWS measures flood stages, but even that doesn’t change the positive outlook. He says the current outlook is based on the current measures, and he says when the flood stages change in March, almost all the flood stages will go up and the probability of hitting flood stage will go down.
“But again right now, the risk of flood is near to below average, so even if those new flood stages were in effect right now we wouldn’t see much of a change in the risk for flooding,” Zogg says.
You can find the flood outlook for you individual area of the state by going to: www.weather.gov.