Melting snow threatens spring flooding in north
Thursday, March 19th 2009, 6:04 pm
By: News 9
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Spring flooding threatens the upper Midwest, parts of the Great Lakes region and the Northeast, government forecasters warned Thursday.
The Red River of the North along the Minnesota-North Dakota border faces the nation's greatest threat of spring flooding, the federal Climate Prediction Center said in its spring weather outlook.
Warnings have already been posted along Red River, the only area in the 48 contiguous states listed as a high flood threat in the new national outlook.
"We are looking at a situation with all the ingredients for near-record flooding in the upper Midwest," said Jack Hayes, director of the National Weather Service. "Sudden snowpack melts due to warm temperatures or a heavy rain could further complicate the flooding on the northern plains."
Facing above average flood threats are:
-- Much of northern Minnesota, central North Dakota and northern South Dakota.
-- A region extending across northern Illinois, Indiana and Ohio and the southern two-thirds of Michigan.
-- New York's Mohawk River Valley and along the northern border of Massachusetts.
The melt from heavy winter snowfalls is expected to provide the excess moisture in the flood areas.
The flood risk is reported to be below average in central Wisconsin, Michigan's Upper Peninsula, the Mid-Atlantic states, Florida, Louisiana, Texas and along the Mexican border and West Coast.
The only parts of the country expected to receive unusually heavy rainfall or snow this spring are Hawaii and Alaska, the National Weather Service reported.
Below-normal rainfall is likely in southern Florida and a region of the West including Idaho, Wyoming, Oregon, Utah, most of Washington, Montana and Colorado as well as northern California and Nevada.
The rest of the country has about even chances of wet, dry or normal weather.
The temperature outlook is for cooler than normal in Hawaii, the southern two-thirds of Alaska, Washington, Montana and the northern parts of Oregon and Idaho.
The outlook is for warmer-than-normal spring temperatures in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and southern Utah and Colorado.
"The current La Nina will likely have some effect on this spring as it continues to weaken. Although La Nina tends to have a smaller influence on U.S. weather during the warmer months, lingering effects are not uncommon in spring," said Ed O'Lenic, long-range forecaster with the Weather Service's Climate Prediction Center.
La Nina is a periodic cooling of sea surface temperatures in the central and eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean which can alter the weather patterns across the United States.