‘Major flooding’ possible this spring, but some factors could help this flood season

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Areas prone to flooding in Minnesota could be in for a wet spring with major flooding in store for some.

Outlined in their 2023 Spring Flood Outlook, the National Weather Service (NWS) says this flooding season may be “well above normal” for numerous areas, with the threat of “major flooding.”

See updated flood outlooks here.

“What worries me most is the fact that we’ve got three, four or five inches of water in the snow pack and it’s over an entire wide area over all of Minnesota,” Craig Schmidt, Senior Service Hydrologist with the NWS Twin Cities, said.

The way Schmidt describes it, there is water trapped in our snow that’s ready to drop like rain when it warms up — he says if that’s mixed with a rainy start to spring, areas prone to flooding will be monitored closely.

“Anytime we have this kind of potential out there you have to at least be prepared just in case,” Schmidt said. “I would certainly pay attention to things right now and get your flood insurance lined up that sort of thing.”

There are a couple factors in play that could help lead to a more minor flood season — including severe drought conditions over the last year and the ground freeze not being too deep.

Experience is also on the sides of many, as city and county leaders prepare for flood season.

“We’re really working with the National Weather Service,” Lisa Hiebert, with St. Paul’s public works, said, adding: “We’re tracking those flood outlooks, we’re starting to have some communications with some of the property owners along the river.”

“The plan has really detailed steps that we will implement if and when we need to get there,” she added.

A couple of those steps include closing roads and using levees if it gets bad enough.

The NWS Twin Cities says “due to this year’s flood potential, we will be issuing an additional spring flood outlook on March 23, 2023.”