For much of the Great Lakes and Midwest, this winter has been a top ten coldest and snowiest. Here is a report from the Sullivan Office of the National Weather service: http://www.crh.noaa.gov/news/display_cmsstory.php?wfo=mkx&storyid=99978&source=0. This is just one example but across Wisconsin and the Midwest , our winter has created a deep snow pack that holds two to 12 inches of liquid water with some locations holding as much as 20 to 25 inches.
Now that we are in early March and our extended forecast keeps temperatures below average through the middle of the month: http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/predictions/814day/814temp.new.gif, our chances of significant flooding increase for late March and April. The longer we hold onto our snowpack, the more likely it melts very quickly. Combined with Spring rains, flooding in Wisconsin and surrounding states could be significant.
In southeast Wisconsin, this experimental river forecast: http://water.weather.gov/ahps2/long_range.php?wfo=mkx already shows several rivers with a greater than 50% chance of moderate flooding. The Spring thaw has not even begun. Look for the amount of rivers to increase in this forecast by mid March and the significance of the flooding to increase.
To avoid significant flooding, we need daytime highs in the 40s and nighttime lows in the 20s, no more snow and light, infrequent rain. Those conditions create a slow thaw that allows rivers to absorb and carry the melt away. By the end of March, average high temperatures climb to near 50 degrees. If we still have a significant snow pack at the end of the month, we are more likely to see highs in the 50’s, possibly warmer, that create a fast melt and increase our flood threat.
Flooding is the number one most expensive and devastating natural disaster. Having a Severe Weather Plan that includes Flooding, decreases your exposure to the impacts of flooding, reduces the costs and lowers the amount of production time lost. Would you prefer to take action to reduce exposure or watch the flooding unfold and then spend countless hours, weeks and months dealing insurance claims?
If your business, organization or community is impacted by flooding, now is the time to start enacting or improving your Flood Plan. If you do not have a Flood Plan as part of your Severe Weather Plan or are unsure that flooding is a problem, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Initial consultations are free.