Flood Potential Outlook
Issued by NWS Cleveland, OH

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WINTER/SPRING FLOOD POTENTIAL OUTLOOK
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE CLEVELAND OH
335 PM EST THU FEB 5 2015

...WINTER/SPRING FLOOD OUTLOOK NUMBER 3...

...THE FLOOD THREAT IS EXPECTED TO BE NEAR NORMAL ACROSS
NORTHWEST PENNSYLVANIA AND NORTHERN OHIO THROUGH EARLY
FEBRUARY...

A NORMAL FLOOD POTENTIAL MEANS OCCASIONAL FLOODING COULD OCCUR
WITH WATER LEVELS HAVING MINOR IMPACTS. THIS IS THE THIRD 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...
THE WEATHER PATTERN FOR THE SHORT TERM FORECASTS SHOWS NO NOTABLE
WARM UPS AND THAWS EXPECTED...THEREFORE IT IS UNLIKELY THAT THE
RIVERS WILL EXCEED THEIR BANKS. THE ONLY EXCEPTION COULD BE CAUSED
BY THE DEVELOPMENT OF ICE JAMS WHICH CAN CAUSE FLOODING IN
ISOLATED SITUATIONS. THE SNOWPACK ACROSS THE REGION CONTINUES TO
GROW WITH ONE TO TWO FEET OBSERVED AT THE TIME OF THIS ISSUANCE.
THE INCREASED WATER IN THE SNOWPACK WILL INCREASE THE FLOOD RISK
IN THE EVENT OF A FUTURE THAW.

THE OFFICIAL NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE 6 TO 10 DAY FORECAST AND 8
TO 14 DAY FORECAST CALLS FOR BELOW NORMAL TEMPERATURES AND NORMAL
PRECIPITATION.

...CURRENT RIVER AND RESERVOIR LEVELS...
ALL BASINS ACROSS THE REGION ARE RUNNING AT NORMAL STREAM FLOWS.
THE MAJORITY OF THE LOCAL RESERVOIRS ARE RUNNING AT THE IDEAL
WINTER POOL LEVELS.

...SNOW COVER...
AT THE TIME OF THIS ISSUANCE THE SNOWPACK WAS BETWEEN ONE AND TWO
FEET DEEP. THE HIGHEST SNOWPACK WAS OBSERVED IN THE SNOWBELT WHERE
MOST OF THE AREA HAS BETWEEN A FOOT AND A HALF TO TWO FEET OF
SNOW. THE WATER EQUIVALENT IN THIS REGION IS BETWEEN TWO AND THREE
INCHES. FOR THE REST OF THE AREA THE SNOWPACK IS AROUND A FOOT
NORTH OF THE ROUTE 30 CORRIDOR...WITH A WATER EQUIVALENT OF ONE TO
ONE AND A HALF INCHES. THE FAR SOUTHERN COUNTIES HAVE SIX INCHES
OF SNOW OR LESS WITH UNDER AN INCH OF WATER CONTENT. THE SNOWPACK
FOR THIS TIME OF YEAR IS RUNNING ABOVE NORMAL...AND IT IS EXPECTED
TO CONTINUE TO GROW AS NO NOTABLE THAWS ARE FORECASTED.

...ICE COVERAGE...
THE ICE ALONG AREA RIVERS CONTINUES TO GROW. THE RIVER STAGES
REMAIN UNDER THE 50TH PERCENTILE WHICH IS ALLOWING FOR LARGE ICE
SHEETS TO DEVELOP. THE WESTERN RIVERS LIKE THE
BLANCHARD...MAUMEE...PORTAGE...AND SANDUSKY ARE PREDOMINANTLY ICE
COVERED WITH ICE DEPTHS AROUND SIX INCHES ON AVERAGE. THE SMALLER
CREEKS ARE PARTIALLY FROZEN OVER WITH SEVERAL OPENING. AS IF OFTEN
THE CASE THIS TIME OF YEAR...NUMEROUS RIVER GAGES ARE BEING
EFFECTED BY THE COLD AND ICE CONDITIONS AND ARE REPORTING
INACCURATE STAGE READINGS. RIVER OBSERVERS SHOULD REPORT
SIGNIFICANT ICE JAMS TO THE LOCAL AUTHORITIES WHO WILL INFORM THE
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE.

THE ICE COVERAGE ON LAKE ERIE IS RUNNING ABOVE NORMAL FOR THIS TIME
OF YEAR ACCORDING TO THE GREAT LAKES ENVIRONMENTAL RESEARCH LAB
ICE FORECAST MODEL. THE LAKE IS 94.4% ICE COVERED WITH AN AVERAGE
THICKNESS AROUND A FOOT. OUTLOOK IS FOR ADDITIONAL ICE GROWTH
OVER THE NEXT WEEK.

...SOIL MOISTURE...
TOP SOILS REMAIN FROZEN AND SNOW COVERED. WITH THE GROUND FROZEN
AND THE SNOWPACK GROWING THE POTENTIAL FOR RAPID RUNOFF AND
FLOODING WILL REMAIN A THREAT IN ANY FUTURE RAIN OR SNOW MELT
EVENTS.

...PRECIPITATION AND TEMPERATURE FORECASTS...
TEMPERATURES ARE EXPECTED TO REMAIN BELOW NORMAL OVER THE SHORT
TERM...ABOUT 10 DEGREES BELOW NORMAL. THE LONG TERM MODELS
SUGGEST A CONTINUATION OF BELOW NORMAL TEMPERATURES AND NORMAL
PRECIPITATION FOR WINTER. SPRING OUTLOOKS SUGGEST NORMAL
TEMPERATURES AND NEAR NORMAL RAINFALL.

...LONG TERM OUTLOOKS...
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 IS NEAR TO ABOVE
NORMAL.

THE ENSO OUTLOOK IS PREDICTING A 50-60% CHANCE OF EL NINO
DEVELOPING DURING THE NEXT COUPLE OF MONTHS BUT WITH A DECREASING
CHANCE IN TO SPRING AND SUMMER. THE LONG TERM TEMPERATURE OUTLOOKS
SUGGEST TEMPERATURES AT OR ABOVE NORMAL THROUGH SPRING. THE
PRECIPITATION OUTLOOKS SHOW MORE NEUTRAL CONDITIONS THROUGH
WINTER.

...FLOOD POTENTIAL SUMMARY AND OUTLOOK...
IN SUMMARY...DESPITE THE FROZEN GROUND COVER AND THE ABOVE NORMAL
SNOW PACK THERE DOESN`T APPEAR TO BE ANY CATALYST TO PRODUCE
FLOODING OR SNOWMELT IN THE NEXT TWO WEEKS. THE FLOOD CHANCES FOR
THE REST OF THE WINTER WILL BE HEIGHTENED IF THE SNOWPACK IS
UNABLE TO GRADUALLY MELT BEFORE SPRING. HOWEVER BASED ON
CLIMATOLOGY AND EXPECTED NORMAL PRECIPITATION THIS SPRING THE
OUTLOOK FOR FLOODING THE REST OF THE WINTER IS NEAR NORMAL. CLIMATOLOGY
FAVORS MARCH AND APRIL AS THE MOST FREQUENT PERIOD FOR FLOODS.

THE NEXT WINTER/SPRING FLOOD OUTLOOK WILL BE ISSUED ON FEBRUARY
19TH.



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