According to experts at the National Weather Service, major flooding has begun and is forecast to continue through spring in parts of the Midwest. Also, the South and East are more susceptible to flooding as an El Niño influenced winter left the area soggier than usual. The NWS says more than a third of the contiguous United States has an above average flood risk with the highest threat in the Dakotas, Minnesota and Iowa, including along the Red River Valley.
Supporting the forecast of imminent Midwest flooding is a snowpack more extensive than in 2009, containing in excess of 10 inches of liquid water in some locations. December precipitation was up to four times above average; and the ground is frozen to a depth as much as three feet below the surface. As a result, runoff has been slowed.
Climate forecasting for spring is more challenging, but NOAA's Climate Prediction Center says odds currently favor wetter-than-average conditions in coastal sections of the Southeast; warmer-than-average temperatures across the western third of the nation and Alaska; and below-average temperatures in the extreme north-central and south-central U.S.