Flood Potential Outlook
Issued by NWS Cleveland, OH

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WINTER/SPRING FLOOD POTENTIAL OUTLOOK
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE CLEVELAND OH
423 PM EST MON FEB 24 2014


...WINTER/SPRING FLOOD OUTLOOK NUMBER 4...

...THERE IS AN ABOVE NORMAL RISK OF FLOODING ACROSS NORTHWEST
PENNSYLVANIA AND NORTHERN OHIO THROUGH MID MARCH...

AN ABOVE NORMAL FLOOD POTENTIAL MEANS WIDESPREAD FLOODING COULD
OCCUR WITH WATER LEVELS POSSIBLY REACHING MODERATE OR MAJOR
IMPACTS.

THIS IS A FOLLOW UP TO THE FORTH ISSUANCE OF THE WINTER AND
SPRING FLOOD OUTLOOK ISSUED BY THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN
CLEVELAND. FLOOD OUTLOOKS ARE ISSUED BIWEEKLY DURING THE WINTER
AND EARLY SPRING TO SUMMARIZE CURRENT CONDITIONS AND ASSESS THE
POTENTIAL FOR FLOODING ACROSS NORTHERN OHIO AND NORTHWEST
PENNSYLVANIA.

FACTORS TO CONSIDER WHEN ASSESSING FLOOD POTENTIAL THIS TIME OF
YEAR ARE CURRENT RIVER AND RESERVOIR LEVELS...SNOW PACK DEPTH AND
WATER CONTENT...ICE COVERAGE ON AREA RIVERS AND THE LAKE...SOIL
MOISTURE...AND WIDESPREAD HEAVY RAINFALL POTENTIAL.

...OVERVIEW...
ICE COVERAGE ON AREA RIVERS AND LAKE ERIE IS EXPECTED TO GROW
THROUGH EARLY MARCH. THIS COMBINED WITH NUMEROUS ICE JAMS ALREADY
DEVELOPED ALONG MANY RIVERS WILL POSE A SIGNIFICANT THREAT FOR
FLOODING WHEN THE NEXT THAW AND RAIN EVENT IMPACT THE AREA. THE
SOIL REMAINS FROZEN UPWARDS OF A FOOT DEEP...PREVENTING ABSORPTION
OF RUNOFF. THE SNOWPACK WAS REDUCED AFTER A RECENT RAIN EVENT...HOWEVER
WATER EQUIVALENTS OF 0.5" TO 1.25" REMAINS IN MANY NORTHERN OHIO
AND NORTHWEST PENNSYLVANIA BASINS. THE COMBINATION OF THESE FACTORS
IS NECESSITATING A HIGHER THAN NORMAL FLOOD THREAT THROUGH EARLY
MARCH.

...CURRENT RIVER AND RESERVOIR LEVELS...
MOST RESERVOIR LEVELS IN THE REGION ARE AT OR ABOVE NORMAL WINTER
POOL LEVELS. GROUND WATER LEVELS ARE NEAR NORMAL. WATER SUPPLY
SHORTAGES ARE NOT ANTICIPATED THIS SPRING.

...SNOW COVER...
AT THE TIME OF THIS ISSUANCE...THE SNOWPACK WAS DEEPEST IN
NORTHWESTERN OHIO INCLUDING THE MAUMEE RIVER BASIN WHERE SNOW
DEPTHS OF 4 TO 6 INCHES WERE REPORTED. FROM THE SANDUSKY RIVER
BASIN EAST TO THE CUYAHOGA RIVER THE SNOW DEPTH WAS AVERAGING 2
TO 4 INCHES. AWAY FROM THE SNOWBELT REGION IN THE
MAHONING...MUSKINGUM...AND MOHICAN RIVER VALLEYS THE SNOW DEPTH
IS LESS THAN AN INCH. IN NORTHWEST PENNSYLVANIA THE SNOW DEPTHS
ARE BETWEEN A TRACE TO 4 INCHES ON AVERAGE.

...ICE COVERAGE...
EXTENSIVE ICE COVERAGE WAS OBSERVED ACROSS ALL LAKE ERIE DRAINAGE
RIVERS. THE NORTHERN RIVERS REMAIN ICE COVERED FOR SEVERAL MILES
UPSTREAM FROM THEIR MOUTHS IN LAKE ERIE. THIS REMAINING ICE HAS
BLOCKED THE ICE FLOES FROM FLUSHING OUT OF THE RIVERS. WITH A
FORECASTED COLD SNAP IN STORE FOR THE REGION OVER THE NEXT WEEK TO
A WEEK AND A HALF IT IS LIKELY THAT THE NEXT THAW COULD PRODUCE
ANOTHER ROUND OF ICE JAM AND ICE JAM RELATED FLOODING.THE ICE
THICKNESS IS SUFFICIENT FOR SIGNIFICANT ICE JAMS WHICH CAN TEAR UP
RIVERSIDE PROPERTY AND TREES AND CAUSE RAPID RIVER RISES AND
FALLS. HOWEVER THE BELOW NORMAL STREAMFLOWS IN THIS DRY PERIOD
SUGGESTS THAT EVEN IF AN ICE JAM OCCURS...IT IS POSSIBLE
THAT THE IMPACTS WOULD BE LIMITED TO THE RIVERBED. ICE JAM PRONE
AREAS SUCH AS BRIDGE ABUTMENTS AND BENDS IN THE RIVERS SHOULD BE
MONITORED AND THE NWS ALERTED SHOULD JAMMING BE OBSERVED. LAKE
ERIE ICE COVERAGE IS AT 96% WITH MOST OF THE MOUTHS OF THE RIVERS
BLOCKED. THIS COULD PROVE A HAZARD AS ANY ICE FLOES COULD BUILD UP
ALONG THE MOUTHS OF THE RIVERS.

...SOIL MOISTURE...
SEASONAL FROZEN GROUND CAN HAVE A VERY SIGNIFICANT EFFECT ON THE
AMOUNT OF RUNOFF. LACK OF VEGETATION DURING THE WINTER...SHALLOW
SNOW COVER...AND VERY COLD TEMPERATURES PRODUCE OPTIMAL
CONDITIONS FOR DEEP FROST PENETRATION. A GROUND TEMPERATURE
READING IN SPRINGSBORO PENNSYLVANIA SHOWS A FROST DEPTH OF 10
INCHES...AND A SITE IN SOUTHEAST OHIO SHOWS A DEPTH OF 6 INCHES.

...PRECIPITATION AND TEMPERATURE FORECASTS...
THE TEMPERATURES IS FORECASTED TO BE WELL BELOW NORMAL OVER THE
REGION THROUGH NEXT WEEKEND. THE CLIMATE PREDICTION CENTER`S 8-14
DAY OUTLOOKS ALSO SUGGESTS WELL BELOW NORMAL TEMPERATURES.
MEANWHILE THE PRECIPITATION IS PREDICTED TO BE BELOW NORMAL. GIVEN
THE COLD TEMPERATURES ANY PRECIPITATION IS LIKELY TO FALL AS SNOW.

...LONG TERM OUTLOOKS...
THE ENSO CYCLE IN THE PACIFIC OCEAN IS EXPECTED TO CONTINUE TO
REMAIN NEUTRAL AND NOT PLAY A NOTABLE ROLE ON THE LARGE SCALE
WEATHER PATTERN OVER THE U.S. THIS WINTER AND SPRING. THE CLIMATE
PREDICTION CENTER`S FORECASTS FOR THE REMAINDER OF THE WINTER ARE
FOR EQUAL CHANCES OF ABOVE...BELOW... AND NORMAL TEMPERATURE AND
ABOVE NORMAL PRECIPITATION.

...FLOOD POTENTIAL SUMMARY AND OUTLOOK...
BASED ON THE ABOVE INFORMATION...THE WINTER/SPRING FLOOD
POTENTIAL DUE TO SNOWMELT AND ICE JAMS OVER THE NEXT 2 WEEKS IS
ABOVE NORMAL. IN THE LONG TERM THE FLOOD POTENTIAL DUE TO
SNOWMELT IS NEAR NORMAL WITH A HIGHER THAN NORMAL THREAT OF ICE
JAM FLOODING. IT IS IMPORTANT TO NOTE HOWEVER THAT MAJOR FLOODING
DOES NOT OCCUR FROM SNOW MELT ALONE. RAINFALL...HOW MUCH AND IN
HOW SHORT A PERIOD OF TIME...IS THE MOST IMPORTANT FACTOR IN
DETERMINING THE SEVERITY OF FLOODING.

ANOTHER WINTER/SPRING FLOOD POTENTIAL OUTLOOK WILL BE ISSUED BY
8 AM FRIDAY MARCH 7.

REAL TIME RIVER INFORMATION AND PROBABILISTIC FORECASTS FOR
SPECIFIC LOCATIONS ALONG RIVERS ACROSS NORTHERN OHIO AND
NORTHWEST PENNSYLVANIA CAN BE FOUND ON THE INTERNET AT
HTTP://WWW.ERH.NOAA.GOV/CLE/ AND CLICKING THE /RIVERS AND LAKES
AHPS/ LINK ON THE LEFT HAND SIDE.

FOR THE LONG-RANGE RIVER OUTLOOKS AND THE PROBABILITY OF
EXCEEDING FLOOD STAGE OR THE CHANCES OF FLOODING RELATIVE TO
NORMAL AT SPECIFIC FORECAST POINTS DURING THE NEXT 90 DAYS...
REFER TO WWW.WEATHER.GOV/OHRFC AND CLICK ON THE 90-DAY RIVER
OUTLOOK ON THE LEFT HAND SIDE OF THE PAGE. CLICK ON FLOOD CHC VS
NORMAL TO VIEW THE RISK OF FLOODING WITH RESPECT TO NORMAL.


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