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Dry Weather Improves Upper Mississippi River Flood Outlook

The last spring flood forecast issued March 12 by the National Weather Service (NWS) showed a markedly reduced chance of major flooding in the Quad Cities area of the Upper Mississippi River. But the risk of “moderate” flooding still remains higher than average.

“Overall, there has been noticeable improvement in the latest probabilities for flooding compared to the outlook issued on February 28, especially along the Mississippi River,” the NWS said. The probability of a major flood state dropped from 94 percent to 59 percent.  “This drop was due to a prolonged period of dry weather across much of the Mississippi River Valley and a favorable snowmelt. However, it remains important to note that the overall risk of flooding remains high through the spring.” Moderate flooding and high water still remain likely. Among the latest report’s key points:

• The highest concern for flooding this spring remains on the Mississippi River. The risk of major flooding is above normal for the entire reach of the river from Dubuque, Iowa through Gregory Landing, Mo., but has dropped compared to the previous outlook.

• “Confidence continues to be low in exactly how severe flooding would be at specific locations,” according to the report.

• The potential for widespread flooding is “near normal for all rivers in the area,” but is dependent on additional spring precipitation.

• Additional snowfall and heavy spring rains could still increase the threat for more severe flooding. Conversely, little to no additional snowfall and lighter spring rains would decrease the flood threat.

The full report is available at https://www.weather.gov/media/dvn/Hydro/2020/03122020_Probabilistic_Hydrologic_Outlook_DVN.pdf

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