Prior to the major winter storm of last weekend, the National Weather Service stated their concern about the potential for record flooding in the upper Midwest. Meteorologist in Charge of the NWS Chanhassen Office, Dan Luna, was quoted as saying, “no river is immune to flooding.”
The graphic above is a snapshot of the spring snowmelt flood potential.
Additional snowfall, with water content of an inch, fell in the Minnesota River Valley on Sunday.
You will be hearing terms like stream flow, discharge in cubic feet per second, and flood crest that will focus on the maximum level the river is expected to reach at a specific gaging site. The concern shared with me recently by one hydrologic expert is that the pieces are in place to take the river levels to unchartered territory.
Water running into the rivers from streams and creeks, as well as additional precipitation can be modeled. What can’t be modeled is water coming directly overland finding its way into the Red River. This was a factor learned from the 1997 flood.
News journalist will be all over this story. Educating the public on terms such as probabilistic forecasts, and hydrographs will reult in a greater understanding of the science and techniques used by the hydrologists to predict the rivers behavior and ultimate crest forecast.