May 18, 2001 — The month-long flooding in the central United States will continue to abate, despite rainy forecasts for much of the area, according to NOAA's National Weather Service. The latest forecast calls for a mostly dry Saturday, followed by widespread chances of showers and thunderstorms late Saturday through Monday. On the heels of rain Thursday and Friday, the thunderstorms could cause flash floods from locally heavy rains. (Click on NOAA image for larger view of Minnesota River flooding at Jordan looking north on April 18, 2001.)

The situation remains serious along the Mississippi River in Iowa, Illinois and Missouri, where moderate to major flooding is still occurring, but the northern reaches are falling below flood stage. The Red River of the North, the other major trouble spot for recent flooding, is also falling below flood stage.

Fargo, N.D., remains the only location along the Red River of the North to remain above flood stage. Continued water releases from Lakes Orwell and Traverse will cause the river to remain around flood stage for the next few days, forecasters said, dropping to the 17-foot flood stage by Tuesday, May 22. As of Thursday, all locations north of Fargo were below flood stage and the river will continue its slow fall.

The Red River reached flood stage of 42 feet at Pembina, N.D., (the final gauge station before the river flows into Canada) the evening of April 7 and crested at 49.43 feet April 26. The river dropped below flood stage May 15.

For the first time in a month, the Mississippi River is below flood stage in the stretch of the river covered by the La Crosse, Wis., weather forecast office (Lake City, Minn., to Guttenberg, Iowa). The flood warning that had been in effect on the Mississippi in that stretch has been canceled.

The Mississippi was at 15.9 feet Friday morning at McGregor, where flood stage is 16 feet. The river was at 14.2 feet at the same time at Guttenberg, where flood stage is 15 feet.

"Our forecasters at Grand Forks, Minneapolis and La Crosse can finally begin their post-flood analysis after a month or more of flooding," said Ken King, chief of hydrologic services at National Weather Service Central Region headquarters in Kansas City, Mo. "The staffs at several of our offices have been operating at a heightened state of alert for quite a while. We're as glad as the residents to see the rivers fall below flood stage, but I'd remind everyone there is still some significant flooding to get through."

King said moderate-to-major flooding is continuing along the Mississippi from Dubuque, Iowa to Hannibal, Mo. Devils Lake, N.D., (a natural collecting point with no drainage structures) is experiencing major flooding and continues to rise.

Other central states and rivers that pose flood problems, King said, are: Illinois—the Illinois and Big Muddy rivers; Iowa—West Fork Des Moines, Wapsipinicon, Cedar, Iowa and La Moine rivers; Michigan—the Grand, Flat and Manistee rivers; Minnesota—the Minnesota River and the Red River of the North; Missouri—North Fabius, Middle Fabius, North Grand, South Grand, Grand, and Cuivre rivers, Moniteau and Wakenda Creeks; North Dakota—the Souris and Lower James rivers and the Red River of the North.

At 17.9 feet Monday morning, the Mississippi was slightly above Dubuque's 17-foot flood stage and was expected to fall below flood stage Saturday. The Mississippi was measured at 19.1 feet Friday morning at Camanche, Iowa, and is expected to fall below flood stage Monday. Dubuque and Camanche continued to experience moderate flooding.

Major flooding was occurring Friday morning at Quad Cities Dam 15, where the river was at 18.3 feet (flood stage 15 feet) and expected to fall to 16 feet by Monday night. Major flooding was also occurring downstream to Burlington, Iowa, where the Mississippi was at 20.6 feet (flood stage 15 feet) Friday morning. The river is expected to fall to 18 feet by Monday night.

The Mississippi crested for a second time this year Thursday morning at Quincy, Ill., reaching its third highest level on record at 26.35 feet. The early Friday reading showed the river at 25.9 feet. Flood stage at Quincy is 17 feet and major flooding continues. The second crest at Hannibal, Mo., of 25.79 feet (flood stage 16 feet) was recorded at 8 p.m. Thursday. The early Friday stage was just less than 25.8 feet.

Downstream at Grafton, Ill., the second crest around 25.6 feet is expected Sunday morning. Flood stage at Grafton is 18 feet and the Mississippi was a little below 24.7 feet early Friday morning. A crest around 25.9 feet (flood stage 21 feet) is expected to reach Alton Landing, Ill., early Monday morning (May 21). The early Friday stage was about 24.8 feet.

St. Louis is expecting minimal flooding impact as the Mississippi is forecast to rise above flood stage there Saturday evening. With flood stage at 30 feet, the crest in St. Louis is expected to be around 30.4 feet early Monday morning.

Relevant Web Sites
See NOAA aerial photos of flooded areas. Please credit "NOAA."

Updated information on the flood and weather forecasts for the affected areas may be found on the following NOAA Web sites for the respective weather service forecast offices.

Regional Weather Forecasts
Click on the appropriate map location.

The Shrike Commander: NOAA's World Class Snow Survey Platform

Davenport, Iowa, and vicinity

Minneapolis, Minn.

St. Louis, Missouri

NOAA's National Weather Service Central Region, with links to 38 forecast offices

NOAA's Hydrologic Information Center

River Conditions from NOAA's Hydrologic Information Center — includes national graphic

NOAA's Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Services

NOAA's Flooding Page

NOAA's River Forecast Centers

NOAA Flood Satellite Images

Media Contacts:
Patrick Slattery, NOAA's National Weather Service Central Region, (816) 426-7621, ext. 621 or John Leslie, NOAA's National Weather Service, (301) 713-0622



This article comes from Science Blog. Copyright 2004

Archives J