Spring is here and with it snow-melt, which is feeding the flooding season. Although some regions are still feeling the effects of parting shots from winter, spring is really taking charge of our weather.
Today, 23 March 2011, there are several states suffering major flooding or nearing conditions of major floods as snow-melt-fed rivers are cresting above flood stage or over-topping their banks. As of today, based on data from the Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service of the National Weather Service, South Dakota, North Dakota, Minnesotta, Kentucky and Tenessee were already being impacted by major flooding,
- This map shows the location of flood gauges around the country. The purples and reds show areas where major flooding has already occurred or where rivers in the area are nearing major flood stages.
which can be seen on the interactive map published daily by the National Weather Service shown here. To see and use the interactive map you can go to: http://water.weather.gov/ahps or you may also visit: http://www.nws.noaa.gov/RedFlagWarning/oh/ahps
Some of this major flooding is taking place along the Mississippi river and its tributaries. A couple of satellite pictures [shown below] taken over the past 30 days show the ‘before and after’ of some of these major flooding events:
View of a section of the Mississippi river before the genesis of current major flooding events.
Same section of the Mississippi river, taken just a few days ago, showing how the river has reached major flooding stage at several locations over-topping its banks.
While these flooding events are happening, spring has also brought extreme wind conditions, increased temperature and thunderstorms, which have in turn created fire weather conditions, especially in areas that have suffered drought .
Over the past few months we have seen the progressive transition from extreme winter weather events with several instances of paralyzing snow, and ice storms around the country, to the arrival of spring and with it major flooding events, potential for wild fires, which will soon lead to the arrival of the 2011 Atlantic hurricane season. All of these hazards highlight the vulnerability of the USA to extreme weather events, which often results in damage, injury and loss of life. This also highlights the need to be prepared and, above all, to practice hazard mitigation!