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May 5, 2011 / Dave Gorham

Who Says it's an Epic Flood? Good Question!

No doubt, there’s a lot going on these days. What with Osama, the stealth copter, the record-breaking tornado outbreak (and recovery), as well as gas prices, Trump and the economy, there seems little room within the headlines for the epic flooding now occurring along the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers.

CNN - Where's the flood? (Click any image for larger size.)

USAToday - Where's the flood?

MSNBC - Where's the flood?

I took a quick look at today’s headlines: CNN, USAToday, MSNBC, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal to name a few, and the flooding is well down the list. Yet this will be a flood of historic proportions. All you have to do is check the local news. If you’re not presently a believer you will become one.

The local news can be biased, of course, but it’s tough to argue with video footage showing the swollen Mississippi River and, with more rain to come, the footage will soon be showing more than just high, fast-flowing rivers. In fact, this past Monday (and then again today) the Corps of Engineers had to explode a levee in Missouri to save a town from the rising waters by allowing the swollen Mississippi to bleed-off as much as four feet of river height into empty fields and pastures.

Satellite images are more straight forward. They can be tweaked to highlight various bits if data so even the black and white images have their shades of gray. Still, the NASA image snapped last week compared to the one a year ago is as appalling as it is revealing.

The Ohio and Mississippi Rivers, April 29, 2010. Blue colors indicate water, green and brown is dry land. Image: NASA

April 28, 2011. As of today, the Ohio River is near it's all-time record stage. Image: NASA

As the nation heads into a relatively tranquil period, meteorologically speaking, the already-saturated grounds of the Ohio and Mississippi River valleys will continue to receive more rain as  several storm systems pass by, one at a time, from west to east. These individual storms will not be headline grabbers by any means, however their contribution to the epic flooding will be unmistakable.

Here’s the latest Storm Development Outlook from ImpactWeather’s StormWatch team:

Significant River Flooding Continues in the Ohio and Mississippi Valleys

More Tranquil Weather Expected Elsewhere in the U.S.

Next Severe Thunderstorm Threat Develops Across the Plains Early Next Week

Generally quiet weather will take hold over much of the United States for the end of the week as the upper-level flow pattern continues in its weakened state. The story that will continue to make headlines through the middle of May will be the ongoing flood situation across the Ohio and Mississippi River Valleys. Recent rainfall along with extremely saturated ground will allow rivers to rise to near-record or historic flood levels from Indiana, Kentucky, and Illinois through southeastern Missouri, western Tennessee, eastern Arkansas, western Mississippi, and into Louisiana with a series of weak disturbances pushing across the Midwest, Great Lakes, and Ohio Valley bringing additional rain showers today through the upcoming weekend. Already levees along rivers are being weakened and/or breached, with widespread areas of farmland as well as populated communities being threatened in these areas. The threat will continue through at least the middle of the month of May, with river stages likely remaining above official flood levels through the beginning of June.


Image: Mike Venske, ImpactWeather StormWatch supervisor


Image: Mike Venske, ImpactWeather StormWatch supervisor









YourWeatherBlog posted yesterday on this ongoing flooding situation.

















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