Flood Risks in Western Iowa This Spring

New forecasts predict a rising risk for flooding across western Iowa in the weeks and months ahead.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reports it has moved all excess water out of Missouri River reservoirs to prepare for this year’s runoff. Hydrologist Kevin Low, with the Missouri Basin River Forecast Center of the National Weather Service, says mountain snowpack is on track.
“Snowpack conditions in the mountains can be generally described as about normal for this time of year,” Low says. “By this point, we’d have normally accumulated about 60%, a little more maybe, of the seasonal peak snow-water equivalent in the mountains. We still have plenty of accumulating season left and much could change.”

Given the snowfall so far and based on previous decades of record-keeping, Low says a runoff forecast is being released. “The February water supply forecast developed by the National Weather Service projects a slightly below-average runoff volume for the 2018 season,” Low says.

In spite of that, he says there will probably be some flooding on tributaries of the Missouri River this spring. “Areas likely to experience tributary flooding include eastern South Dakota, western Iowa, eastern Nebraska, eastern Kansas and across the state of Missouri,” Low says. “The wet soils have enhanced the chances for flooding in these areas for this spring.” The first flood forecast of the season will be released later this month.

(from Radio Iowa)