Warmer Temperatures to Initiate Spring Thaw This Week

Warming temperatures this week are expected to increase melting and potentially lead to river flooding as early as late this week or next weekend. 

 

A change in the weather pattern will bring much warmer temperatures into central and northeastern South Dakota and west-central Minnesota this week.  High temperatures in the northeast are expected to range from the 40s to around 50 through Thursday.  Even warmer conditions are expected across far south-central South Dakota with highs in the 50s on Tuesday, warming into the 60s to on Wednesday, before cooling back to the 50s by late in the week.  Low temperatures will also be mild, ranging from the 20s to low 30s north, to the 30s central and south-central. 

 

In addition to the warmer temperatures, there will be several chances for precipitation over the next 7 to 10 days.  There will be a chance of rain across the area on Wednesday night and Thursday.  Precipitation amounts with this system are forecast to range from 0.10" to 0.25” of rainfall, although locally higher amounts are possible.   A stronger storm system is then possible for late next weekend into early next week. This system has the potential to produce more significant precipitation in the form of rain or snow, however forecast uncertainty remains high as this storm is still 5-7 days out.

 

Thus, the combination of these warm temperatures and possible liquid precipitation will begin the snowmelt this week.  As confidence increases regarding the speed of the melt and impacts on the rivers, additional river flood warnings may be needed by the end of the work week. 

 

The latest NWS Aberdeen Spring Flood Outlook provides a probabilistic forecast showing percent chances of reaching critical river stages at various forecast points along area rivers.  For the complete outlook, click HERE.  Note - the spring outlook only accounts for flooding due to snow melt and does not account for any flooding due to ice jams.  Possible flood impacts on specific locations along rivers in the NWS Aberdeen forecast area are listed in the tables below. 

 

In addition to river flooding, widespread areal flooding or ponding of water will also be likely across the region. Sloughs, ponds, and lakes will likely experience significant rises that could threaten some secondary roads.   Record high lake levels could be reached on many lakes in eastern SD, including Waubay, Blue Dog, Bitter, Punished Woman's, Poinsett, Pickerel, Dry (Hamlin), and Willow (Clark).

 


Big Sioux River 7 NW Watertown

River Stage       (Flood Category)

Probability of Reaching This Stage

Flood Impacts at this Stage

12.0 Ft (Major)

14%

Flooding begins to affect the city of Watertown.

11.0 Ft (Moderate)

88%

County roads begin to flood.

10.0 Ft (Minor)

>98%

Significant amounts of pasture land and crop land are flooded.

 

 

 

 

 

 Big Sioux River at Castlewood

River Stage       (Flood Category)

Probability of Reaching This Stage

Flood Impacts at this Stage

16.0 Ft (Major)

13%

The bridges on the southeast corner of Watertown and the bridge 1 mile north of Appleby are overtopped.

12.0 Ft (Moderate)

>98%

The water reaches the bottom of the bridge at the gauge.

11.0 Ft (Minor)

>98%

Significant amounts of pasture and other agricultural land will be flooded.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


James River at Columbia

River Stage       (Flood Category)

Probability of Reaching This Stage

Flood Impacts at this Stage

18.0 Ft (Major)

>98%

137th St between 395th and 400th Ave is flooded.

17.0 Ft (Moderate)

>98%

Water reaches the base of the levee at Columbia Park.

13.0 Ft (Minor)

>98%

Flooding of lower lying agricultural areas begins.

 

 

 

 

 

James River at Stratford

River Stage       (Flood Category)

Probability of Reaching This Stage

Flood Impacts at this Stage

19.0 Ft (Major)

>98%

The water reaches the bottom of the bridge 3 miles south of the gauge.

17.0 Ft (Moderate)

>98%

County roads begin to flood.

14.0 Ft (Minor)

>98%

Significant amounts of agricultural lands begin flooding.

 

 

 

 

 

 

James River at Ashton

River Stage       (Flood Category)

Probability of Reaching This Stage

Flood Impacts at this Stage

16.0 Ft (Major)

>98%

Water overtops the bridge 3 miles north and 1 ½ miles east of Ashton.

14.0 Ft (Moderate)

>98%

Water reaches the bottom of the bridge 3 miles north and 1 ½ miles east of Ashton.

13.0 Ft (Minor)

>98%

Flooding of lower lying agricultural areas begins.

 

 

 

 

 

 

James River near Redfield

River Stage       (Flood Category)

Probability of Reaching This Stage

Flood Impacts at this Stage

25.0 Ft (Major)

78%

The bridge 2 miles east of the gauge is overtopped.

22.0 Ft (Moderate)

94%

Flooding of significant amounts of agricultural and wooded areas begins.

20.0 Ft (Minor)

>98%

Flooding of low lying agricultural and pasture land begins.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Elm River at Westport

River Stage       (Flood Category)

Probability of Reaching This Stage

Flood Impacts at this Stage

19.0 Ft (Major)

24%

The community of Westport begins to flood.

16.0 Ft (Moderate)

81%

Additional gravel roads along the river begin to flood.

14.0 Ft (Minor)

97%

The county road east of Westport becomes impassible.

 

 

 

 

 


Turtle Creek at Redfield

River Stage       (Flood Category)

Probability of Reaching This Stage

Flood Impacts at this Stage

15.0 Ft (Major)

38%

Several homes in Bula Park and Vinegar Flats are flooded and the bridge into Bula park goes under water.

10.0 Ft (Moderate)

96%

Some homes in northwestern Redfield are threatened.

7.0 Ft (Minor)

>98%

Moderate flooding of agricultural land begins along the banks of Turtle Creek.

 

 

 

 

 

 


Grand River near Little Eagle

River Stage       (Flood Category)

Probability of Reaching This Stage

Flood Impacts at this Stage

21.0 Ft (Major)

24%

The community of Little Eagle begins to experience some flooding.

17.0 Ft (Moderate)

97%

Extensive flooding of pasture land begins as both banks of the river are overtopped.

15.0 Ft (Minor)

>98%

Low lying pasture and hay land along the river begins to flood.

 



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