It’s the first day of spring in the United States, but that’s nothing to celebrate, unfortunately, as this season is forecast to come with dangerous flooding.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released its annual spring forecast on Thursday. On the bright side, the federal government does not expect flooding this year to be as bad as it was last year. Remember that? After a bomb cyclone hit the Midwest, historic flooding followed once all that snow melted. Superfund sites went underwater. Farmers lost valuable soil. Shit got real. So, yeah, no thanks.
However, that doesn’t mean that flooding this year won’t suck. Because, oh, it will. NOAA is predicting above-average temperatures and above-average precipitation in the central and eastern U.S. All that plus soils that are unable to retain any more water is the recipe for flooding. To make matters worse, rivers across the Midwest are already experiencing minor flooding. Oh, and we’re in the middle of a pandemic.
“Nearly every day, dangerous flooding occurs somewhere in the United States and widespread flooding is in the forecast for many states in the months ahead,” said Ed Clark, director of NOAA’s National Water Centre in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, in a press statement.
Estimates put a third of the country at risk for minor floods. NOAA researchers look at snowpack, drought, soil moisture, and precipitation to reach their conclusions. Across the U.S., above-average spring temperatures will be felt, which is bad news for any snow that might’ve fallen over the winter.
Eastern North Dakota, eastern South Dakota, and northwestern Minnesota are particularly at risk, as they’re set to experience major flooding events. This means roads and buildings would be underwater. Evacuations would be necessary. Moderate flooding is expected to stretch from this region all the way to the Southeast, where devastating floods struck Mississippi in February.
These parts of the U.S. are still reeling from the damage they suffered last year. In the Midwest, Native American tribes were hit especially hard. After all, rebuilding doesn’t happen overnight, especially for tribal communities whose budgets are already insufficient to address their regular infrastructure demands. Now, much of the U.S. will have to brace for another year of disruption.