Flood Potential Outlook
Issued by NWS Cleveland, OH

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Winter/Spring Flood Potential Outlook
National Weather Service CLEVELAND OH
311 PM EST Thu Feb 16 2017

...BELOW NORMAL FLOOD RISK FOR THE LAKE ERIE AND OHIO RIVER BASINS
THROUGH MARCH 4TH...

This is the fourth flood potential outlook of the 2017 season.
Flood outlooks will be issued every two weeks into early spring
to summarize basin conditions and to assess the potential for
flooding. The outlooks are based on current and forecast
hydrometeorological conditions. This includes snow cover and water
equivalent, creek and river levels and the amount of ice on them,
along with the expected conditions during the next two weeks.
Flooding could occur with water levels having minor impacts even
with a below normal outlook.

...CURRENT CONDITIONS SUMMARY...
After a warm January, above normal temperatures were common across
northern Ohio and northwestern Pennsylvania for the first two
weeks of February. Several record high temperatures were set on
February 7th as temperatures soared into the upper 50s and 60s. A
recent return to near normal temperatures lead to the return of
light lake effect snows, however this is projected to end with
another round of spring like temperatures starting this weekend.
With the passing of the climatological coldest time of the year
it is unlikely that the ground will refreeze before spring. These
conditions plus the lack of notable rain events in the forecast
leads to a below normal risk of flooding for the next two weeks.

SNOWPACK
In the Snowbelt (NE OH/NW PA)
Snow depths ranged from 2 to 4 inches in northeast Ohio
to 5 to 9 inches in the higher terrain of northwest Pennsyvlania.
Overall the standing snow water equivalent at the time of this
issuance ranged from 0.2 to 0.5 inches in the higher terrain of
the upper French Creek basin, to around a trace to 0.2 inches
elsewhere.



Elsewhere Across the Region
Snow depths outside of the snowbelt remain around two inches or
less with a water equivalent less than a 0.10.

GROUND CONDITIONS
Soil temperatures (2 below top soil) were below freezing in the
snowbelt, however 4 depth soil temperatures were above freezing.
Soil temperatures remained above freezing at the 2 and 4
depths outside of the snowbelt. The removal of snowpack this
weekend combined with higher sun angles will support a warming of
the ground cover over the next two weeks. Soil moisture is
saturated and unlikely to absorb much if any runoff should a rain
event occur over the next two weeks. Lake ice was last reported
around 6 percent, with no reports of river ice.

Streamflows are elevated with most reporting around the 50th
percentile. Reservoirs, which had risen over the last month, have
been gradually releasing flows to return to near normal winter pool
levels. There remains a high percentage of flood storage
available.



...TEMPERATURE AND PRECIPITATION OUTLOOK...
The rainfall over the last 30 days has been 200-250% of normal for
the region (Jan 16-Feb16) with temperatures 5-10 F above normal.
The 7 day forecast calls for below normal precipitation, and well
above normal temperatures. A potential storm system around the
25th of February looks to have the best potential for heavy
rainfall, yet probability is low at this time. Temperatures are
expected to drop back to near seasonable normals behind this storm
system for the end of the month. Outlooks going into March favor
above normal temperatures and near normal precipitation.


...FLOOD POTENTIAL OUTLOOK...
Flood risk during the next two weeks is below normal for region.
The pattern favors a melting of the entire snowpack, which will
elevate streams and creeks in the snowbelt which is not sufficient
to produce flooding. Elsewhere, current river levels are near
normal and will continue to gradually subside over the next week.
Ahead of the next weather system there wont be a snowpack or
frozen soil, however ground conditions will be saturated.
Conditions overall favor a below normal chance for flooding
through the beginning of March.


...ADDITIONAL INFORMATION...
Real time river information and probabilistic forecast for specific
locations along rivers across the region can be found on the
internet at www.weather.gov/cle. Since conditions can change,
please refer to the latest flood watches, warnings, and statements
for additional information.

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