Spring Flood Risk Lower, But Not Eliminated

Tomorrow marks the official start of spring and typically the arrival of flood season as the snow melts.

However, given the unseasonably warm temperatures in many parts of the country, you could be forgiven for thinking that spring had already sprung.

Largely due to the limited winter snowfall, this year for the first time in four years, no area of the country faces a high risk of major to record spring flooding, according to NOAA’s annual Spring Outlook.

NOAA says:

The Ohio River basin including portions of Illinois, Indiana, and Kentucky, along with parts of Louisiana and Mississippi are the only areas with an above-normal risk of flooding as soil moisture and river levels are currently above normal. Additionally, odds favor above-average April rainfall for the Ohio River basin.

River and stream water levels are normal to below normal for most of the country and there is less snow pack than in previous years. As a result, there is a normal flood risk from the Northeast, through the mid-Atlantic, across most of the northern Plains and into the Northwest.†

However, the mild winter does not entirely eliminate the risk of spring flooding.

NOAA adds:

Heavy spring rainfall can lead to flooding at any time, even in areas where overall risk is considered at or even below normal.†


Although flooding risks have subsided it is important to remember that weather can change quickly – from drought to flooding to severe weather, including outbreaks of tornadoes.†

In other words, don’t put your umbrella away and don’t let your flood insurance policy lapse.

The top 10 most costly flood events in U.S. history are associated with hurricanes and tropical storms, according to facts and statistics from the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.).

Still, a 2011 I.I.I. poll found that just 14 percent of American homeowners had a flood insurance policy, below the 17 percent who said they purchased flood insurance in 2008.

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