The National Weather Service has released the official spring flood outlook for the area. This useful report gives some minor insights into what could be in store for the area in terms of river flooding for the upcoming spring. There is always the concern for ice jams, heavy spring rains, etc. and this year will be no different.
The current outlook calls for a Slightly Below Normal to Normal risk for flooding this spring.
There are several factors that play into this prediction, which are outlined below.
-Current stream flows are below normal, thanks to the lack of heavy rainfall in recent weeks.
-Ice Jam potential remains possible over the next several weeks as temperatures continue to warm. There is currently a "normal" risk for ice jams.
-Soil Moisture: While some areas immediately to the west of our Counties are dealing with drought, our soil moisture here within Lee and Whiteside Counties remains near normal.
-Frost Depth: The farther west you go, the greater the frost depth due to periods of well below average temperatures this winter. Increased frost depth does tend to increase your chances of flooding since any added significant rain/snowmelt can't penetrate the ground effectively causing a lot of runoff.
-Seasonal Snowfall: We have caught up from our previous snow drought earlier this winter and seasonal snowfall is now near normal.
-Liquid Precipitation: We have been fairly dry in terms of liquid precipitation from the fall through now.
THINGS TO WATCH:
Ice jam potential will need to be monitored carefully over the next several weeks as warmer temperatures are forecast. Ice jams are hard to predict and can quickly cause river levels to fluctuate.
Heavy Rains Over The Next 1-2 months: Heavy rains that occur in late February into early March can spell trouble due to a frozen ground creating a lot of runoff. If we experience heavy rainfall over the next several weeks, our chances of flooding will increase.
The National Weather Service will continue to post updated flood outlooks throughout the spring season. Stay tuned!