Risk of spring flooding near normal in Eastern Iowa, forecasters say

Report: Given thick ice cover, a rapid thaw could result in localized ice jam flooding

Orlan Love
Published: March 6 2014 | 3:42 pm - Updated: 1 April 2014 | 9:15 am in

Spring flood potential for Eastern Iowa rivers and streams remains “generally near normal,” the National Weather Service said Thursday in its second spring flood outlook of the season.

The risk along the Mississippi River from Dubuque to Burlington is above normal, according to the report issued by the Weather Service’s Quad Cities office.

There has been “no significant change in hydrologic conditions since the first outlook issued Feb. 20,” the report said.

Although snowfall has been well above normal, the liquid water content of the snow has not, according to the report.

Other factors contributing to the near normal threat, the report said, include below normal soil moisture and near to below normal stream levels.

Depending upon the timing of an eventual thaw, deeply frozen soils could prevent water soaking into the ground, which would increase runoff into rivers and streams, the Weather Service said.

Given this winter’s thick ice cover, a rapid thaw could result in localized ice jam flooding, the report said.

In Cedar Rapids, the likelihood of the Cedar River reaching the 12-foot flood stage is 24 percent, which is equivalent to the normal risk this time of year, the Weather Service said.

The Iowa River at Iowa City has a less than 5 percent chance of reaching its 22-foot flood stage this spring, slightly below the normal 6 percent chance, the report said.

There is a 21 percent chance the Wapsipinicon will reach its 14-foot flood stage at Anamosa, below the normal 26 percent chance, according to the report.

At Lansing, there is a 10 percent chance the Mississippi River will reach its 17-foot minor flood stage, which compares with a normal risk of 7 percent. Comparable risks are 84 percent at McGregor (normal risk, 49 percent), 78 percent at Guttenberg (normal risk, 47 percent) and 86 percent at Dubuque (normal risk, 49 percent).

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