January Probabilistic Hydrologic Outlook

The January Probabilistic Hydrologic Outlook has been issued. While there is not a full in-depth look at the spring snowmelt flooding potential in this outlook, there is a quick "first look" provided.   In short, overall, the threat looks to be normal or even below normal this year.   The first full spring snowmelt flood potential outlook will be issued February 16th.

We have been having below-normal precipitation for the past several months, and the snowfall so far this winter has also been on the light side.  Thus, the spring snowmelt flooding risk at this point appears to be lower than normal.  

A quick reference map for the risk of Minor, Moderate or Major flood levels can be found at:  http://www.crh.noaa.gov/ncrfc/content/water/esp/espminor.php?espLevel=minor&fg (this map is clickable, if you would like to select a specific location.)  

This map shows that the majority of forecast locations in the local area are highlighted in blue, which is a 0 to 20% risk of flooding through the end of April.  Only a few have a higher probability for flooding, between 20% and 40%.  (If you recall, this scenario is quite different from this time last year when we were already showing a significant threat for snowmelt flooding  at many locations due to the above normal fall precipitation and above normal winter precipitation through the end of December 2010.)

For planning purposes, the following is the schedule for the remaining Spring Flood Outlook updates:
1.     Feb 16 - 1st official national outlook
2.     March 1 - 2nd official national outlook
3.     March 8 - possibly updated depending on the weather 
4.     March 22 - possibly updated depending on the weather
For a quick refresher on some of the key hydrology products available reference:

NWS La Crosse AHPS River/Lakes Webpage     http://water.weather.gov/ahps2/index.php?wfo=arx
NWS La Crosse Hydrology Monitor Webpage     http://www.crh.noaa.gov/arx/hydro_monitor.php

Also of note:  Flood Safety Awareness Week is March 12 – 16th, 2012. Our office will issue a daily Public Information Statement (PNS) with information on a specific topic regarding flooding and/or flood safety.  The National Flood Safety Awareness webpage is http://www.floodsafety.noaa.gov/ which lists those topics.  One specific item to note is the topic of Flood Insurance. Many individuals in this part of the country purchase flood insurance in the winter in preparation for spring flooding. With the flood risk at this time looking less than years past, a concern is that people will allow their insurance to expire. That decision could turn out to be a costly mistake, if we happen to see a significant rain event that leads to flooding. Property owners, including homes and businesses, need to continue their flood insurance, as there is a 30 day wait period before the policy goes into effect.



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