Spring flood risk high, but lower than 2020

As the spring thaw begins those living near the Mississippi River should be especially concerned with flooding, while the rest of the county also has reason to worry.

According to a report by the National Weather Service in La Crosse, the risk for flooding along the main-stem of the Mississippi River is well above normal this year and the risk for flooding along the tributaries — including the Black and Trempealeau rivers — ranges from near normal to well above normal. 

“With the very wet soil conditions going into this winter and the elevated streamflow because of the repeated rounds of precipitation over the past year plus, there is an above normal risk for spring flooding,” John Wetenkamp, service hydrologist/meteorologist from the NWS, said.

The report issued on Feb. 13 by the NWS-La Crosse showed portions in southern Trempealeau County as having a greater than 50 percent chance of having major or moderate flooding but the current conditions don’t indicate a repeat of the 2019 spring floods that hit the area.

“We don’t have as much snow across Trempealeau County, like we had last year, and the frost depth isn’t as deep,” Wetenkamp said. “In addition the ice isn’t as thick on area rivers as last year. So, overall the flooding risk isn’t as high as last year.”

Still, Wetenkamp said that minor flooding along the Black and Trempealeau rivers is “looking likely” and that moderate flooding, possibly worse, can’t be ruled out.  “That will depend on future precipitation and temperature trends the rest of this winter into the spring months.”

“The bottom line is that the soil and streamflow conditions are primed for flooding, now its a matter of the rate of snow melt and future precipitation trends,” Wetenkamp said. 

The NWS will issue two more sprint flood outlooks, one due out on Feb. 27 and the other on March 12. 




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