National Weather Service Presents Flood Predictions for Spring

Updated: 02/14/2014 11:23 AM
Created: 02/13/2014 2:42 PM
By: Josh Rosenthal

We've had good years, we've had bad years, but around this time, the question is always the same for Minnesotans: come spring, how much flooding should we expect?

"I would say it's an average forecast. It's not a bad one, it's not necessarily a good one," explained Dan Luna, a National Weather Service meteorologist. He presented the annual spring flood forecast Thursday at the Governor's Homeland Security Conference in Brooklyn Center.

Luna said there is a lot of snow on the ground right now, but the good news is it doesn't have much water in it. That means the flood threat is pretty typical for this time of year, but Luna said the weather in March and April will make or break us when it comes to flooding.

"It'll depend on how much snow we get and how quickly we warm up this spring," he said.

Here's where our river levels stand Thursday:

  • The Red River is at an above average flood risk, as always. We see flooding up in Fargo just about every spring.
  • The upper Mississippi is at average water levels.
  • The lower Mississippi, from the Twin Cities to Iowa, is actually at below average flood risk.
  • The St. Croix river is also below average.

That's very important intel for the people at the Governor's Homeland Security Conference.

As Minnesota Emergency Management Director Kris Eide put it, "we don't watch the weather like normal people watch the weather."

That's because when Eide hears the National Weather Service flood outlook every year, she has to make sure the state and local governments are prepared to handle it. That covers everything from sand bags to the supply of cots and blankets in shelters.

"This is always kind of our official flood forecast and we kick off all of our really intense planning after this," she said.

Luna's forecast did include one more warning: he said as the weather starts warming up, there's a very strong possibility -- a little more than usual -- that we'll have flash floods because of ice jams.

Minneapolis/St. Paul

36° | 26°
  • Feels like: 28° F
  • Wind: NNW 6mph
  • Humidity: 72%
  • Wed Considerable cloudiness
    42° | 28°
  • Thu Morning clouds followed by afternoon sun
    30° | 15°
  • Fri Sunshine
    24° | 10°
  • Sat Partly cloudy
    18° | 2°