WSAW - Blogs - Jeremy Tabin

Some Flooding Concerns

Last week we got our first taste of some spring weather with temps peaking in the 60s.  Sadly, this week the weather has reverted back to more of a late winter set up with highs struggling to get out of the 30s and 40s.  The week started off with a strong wave of low pressure pulling north through the plains, producing a bit of light freezing rain but primarily rain in the Wisconsin River Valley.  We were on the "mild" side of this storm, so most of the precipitation stayed in the liquid form.  By the time the rounds of rain are said and done for us, rainfall amounts may range from a half inch to perhaps as much as 1.50".  If we had a longer stretch of warm weather prior to this point, I would have confidence that the ground could absorb this much moisture over a couple days time.  However, the most we have gotten is the dissolving of the snow pack, but still a fairly frozen ground.  This translates to some of the rain being absorbed, but probably most of it ponding on grassy surfaces (once over about a half inch falls) with the rest leading to a decent amount of runoff.  Of course, that means that area streams and rivers, which recently have thawed, are likely to be running at higher levels, and may start to reach flood stage by the middle of the week.

I'm not expecting flood scenes like those from late March 2004 in our area or what resulted in southern Wisconsin last June, but I wouldn't rule out minor flooding. As we work through the next few weeks, there will hopefully be some warmer days that will lead to the eventual thawing of the ground, that'll allow it to soak up that rain better.  By the same token, I wouldn't break out the spring flowers or start planting the garden anytime soon.  As you know, it's best to probably wait until we are well into May and beyond before the threat for having frost or freeze conditions subsides.  Nevertheless, the odds are promising that we'll have more rain storms versus snow storms, along with a chance at thunderstorms.  Speaking of which, the next weather maker for this weekend does poise the potential for some wet snow south and east of our area.  It will be close, but based on the latest computer model data, the back edge may just skirt parts of eastern Shawano, Waupaca and Waushara Counties.  However, traveling into southern and southeast Wisconsin, measurable accumulations look to be a good bet.  We will dodge this snow producer, but there could be some snow in the works for the first half of next week.  I'll have more on that in my next blog update.

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