Winter's snow may translate into increased flooding potential - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Winter's snow may translate into increased flooding potential

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After a winter of above-average snowfall, the risk of river flooding this spring may be rising as well.

"The melt has been very slow to occur and the longer we go into spring with snow on the ground, the greater the chance for that spring snow melt flooding, especially over parts of Central Wisconsin," Lead Warning Coordination Meteorologist Jeff Last told Newsline 9.

Last leads the National Weather Service office in Green Bay.  That's the office that issues flooding alerts for most of the Newsline 9 viewing area.

Though temperatures through March have stayed cold enough to keep the snow pack in tact, as more seasonal temperatures eventually overtake the region, conditions could easily change.

As of March 24, Wausau has recorded 12.7" of snow for the month.  That's well above the climatological average of 8.4", and leagues above the 1.6" of snow Wausau saw at this point back in March 2012.

Since July 1, Wausau has recorded 68.7" of snow.  Typical snowfall amounts by this time of year have the city with just 53.7".

In terms of what could translate into possible river flooding, Last identified the Yellow and Eau Pleine Rivers as two waterways the National Weather Service say merit keeping an eye on for the possibility of some flooding later this spring.

"Certainly anybody who lives near a river in the springtime should be aware of the possibility of flooding," Last continued.

With cooler than average temperatures widespread across the state for much of March, that is shortening the typical transition period between the warmest and coldest times of year.  The shorter that time is, the greater the chance of the above-average snow accumulation melting in short order, and looking for rivers to flow to. 

"April is right in the middle of the worst time as we're getting that transition from the winter into the spring and as that happens the snow melts and the rivers rise.  Not to mention the fact rain will be falling in April as we go into the warm season," Last said.

With temperatures expected to struggle to return to seasonal levels through the remainder of the month, that is setting up April to be quite a month for river watching.

For a map with river observations through much of Central Wisconsin from the National Weather Service, follow this link: http://water.weather.gov/ahps2/index.php?wfo=grb

For the latest hydrologic outlook statement issued by the National Weather Service, follow this link: http://water.weather.gov/ahps/water/textprods/view.php?wfo=grb&prod=ESF

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