Spring Flood Outlook: What’s behind the elevated risk

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The risk for spring flooding is well above normal around the Quad Cities this year. 

It’s not just due to our recent snowy stretch, either. Rivers have actually been running high for months now. Last fall was a wet one around much of the QCA.  Winter started relatively dry, but quickly changed to extremely snowy during January. Moline, of course, set a new snowfall record for the month of January. 

Soil moisture levels in northern Iowa and northwestern Illinois are also unusually high. When precipitation falls, the ground won’t be able to absorb as much, leading to faster rising streams and rivers. 

On top of our moisture, there’s an unusual amount of snowpack sitting to our north across Minnesota and Wisconsin. All of that water will eventually find its way into the Mississippi River.

Bottom Line: The combination of already high rivers, snowpack to the north, saturated soils, and ice will make flooding highly likely this coming spring. 

You can read the full National Weather Service outlook, including probabilities for numerous river locations around the QCA, here

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