Rising water levels this week don't necessarily mean active flood season
By Madeline Sky, Weekend Meteorologist - bio | email
LA CROSSE, Wisconsin (WXOW) - With all four seasons, bluffs, and rivers, the Coulee Region is a beautiful part of the Country. But with this gorgeous landscape also comes the risk of flooding.
“Our region is somewhat susceptible to flooding because of all the rivers that are moving through the area,” said Alex Kirchner, Daybreak Meteorologist. “We’ve got a couple of major ones converging on the Mississippi, and the topography. Those bluffs allow a lot of water to funnel down in one spot.”
The risk of flooding in the Coulee Region is highest in the spring. This is because streams and rivers have to manage both melting snow from the winter, on top of the rain and snow that comes during the spring months.
Right now, an active weather pattern has brought abundant rain to the Coulee Region and water levels are rising on area streams and rivers.
More rain is expected through the end of the work week, and if the forecast holds, water levels could rise close to, if not beyond flood stage for many rivers including the Mississippi.
Whether or not the river near your home will flood, and exactly when it will happen if it does, is a little tricky. It depends on topography of the area as well as where the storms track through and how much rain falls.
“The smaller rivers usually respond a lot quicker to heavy rainfall,” said Kirchner. “And then all that water works into some of the big rivers. Now they can handle a lot more when it comes to excess water. They’ve got a lot more room to handle all of that, but if there is plenty of rainfall or an excessive amount of snowmelt even the big rivers can flood from time to time.”
Thankfully the soggy weather this week this doesn’t necessarily mean flooding will be the norm for the rest of the season.
“The precipitation chances for the later half of the spring and the summer are about a 50/50 to either drier or below average, or above average,” said Kirchner. “So dependent on the week or the month precipitation could be either up or down. So it’s going to be highly variable this summer and that’s going to keep us on our toes when it comes to keeping an eye on the rivers and watching out for potential flooding.”
More water and higher river levels this week also means currents will be faster on the Mississippi and other rivers. If you’re planning on going out on the river make sure you know the current conditions and remember that just because the river was doing one thing last week doesn’t mean it will be doing the same thing this week.
Until the levels start to fall it’s important stay aware of the changing conditions on the water. And if you live by or travel along rivers, know the impacts of minor flooding in those areas and make plans accordingly
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