More rain and snow has raised concerns about spring flooding potential

The longer we hold onto this snowpack the more potential for a rapid melt says the National Weather Service
Flooded Mississippi River
Flooded Mississippi River and High Bridge in Saint Paul Minnesota, which experts say could be a problem again in 2023. Photo credit (Getty Images / jferrer)

It’s no surprise all of our rain and snow this week has increased the potential of significant flooding this spring. Especially if we get a quick melt according to National Weather Service Hydrologist Mike Welvaert.

“The longer we hold onto this snowpack, the greater the likelihood we’ll see temperatures jump into the fifties or sixties. That can happen in the springtime,” Welvaert says. “If that happens with this much snow we have out there right now, the melt will be pretty quick and that will probably result in some more severe flooding if we see that scenario develop.”

Welvaert says the highest potential for flooding is along our major rivers, like the Mississippi, Minnesota and St. Croix. In fact, he says flood levels along the Mississippi could be worse than they've seen in years.

“The St. Croix as well, there’s eight to nine inches of water in the Upper St. Croix basin,” Welvaert says. “So, as that water comes down all those main waterways, that’s where our highest potential for flooding is this spring.”

As for the melting snow in our own backyards, Welvaert says it's a good idea to shovel out or remove snow near the foundation to ward off a potentially wet basement.

Our cold snap isn't doing us any favors either. The longer we hold onto this snowpack, the more potential for a rapid melt once daytime temps hit the 50's and 60's.

“The water that’s in that snow is ranking anywhere from three or four inches of water content in the snow, up to as much as six or even eight inches in some places” Welvaert explains. “When that melts, think of that as an eight inch rainfall. If you got that in the summer, you’d be looking at flooding, right?”

Featured Image Photo Credit: (Getty Images / jferrer)