Flood Potential Outlook
Issued by NWS Cleveland, OH

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WINTER/SPRING FLOOD POTENTIAL OUTLOOK
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE CLEVELAND OH
1001 AM EST TUE JAN 13 2015

...WINTER/SPRING FLOOD OUTLOOK NUMBER 1...

...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 FIRST 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 OVER THE NEXT FEW DAYS WILL BE COLD AND DRY WITH
THE EXCEPTION OF LAKE EFFECT SNOW. THE FLOOD THREAT IN THIS
ENVIRONMENT IS MINIMAL AS RIVER LEVELS RECEDE. THE ONLY EXCEPTION
COULD BE CAUSED BY THE DEVELOPMENT OF ICE JAMS WHICH CAN CAUSE
FLOODING IN ISOLATED SITUATIONS. RIVER OBSERVERS SHOULD REPORT
SIGNIFICANT ICE JAMS TO THE LOCAL AUTHORITIES WHO WILL INFORM THE
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE.

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


...CURRENT RIVER AND RESERVOIR LEVELS...
ALL BASINS ACROSS THE REGION ARE RUNNING AT OR SLIGHTLY BELOW
NORMAL STREAM FLOWS. THE MAJORITY OF THE LOCAL RESERVOIRS ARE
RUNNING AT THE IDEAL WINTER POOL LEVELS. A RECENT COLD AND DRY
SPELL HAS LOWERED THE STREAM LEVELS WELL BELOW FLOOD...HOWEVER
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.

...SNOW COVER...
AT THE TIME OF THIS ISSUANCE THE SNOW PACK WAS AVERAGING 3 TO 10
INCHES ACROSS MOST OF THE REGION. FOR THE SNOWBELT COUNTIES THE
SNOW PACK IS OVER A FOOT IN HIGHER ELEVATIONS OF ASHTABULA OHIO
AND ERIE AND CRAWFORD PENNSYLVANIA. THE WATER EQUIVALENT IS UNDER
AN INCH ACROSS MOST OF THE REGION WITH THE EXCEPTION OF THE THE
SNOWBELT WHERE IT IS NEARER TO TWO INCHES.

...ICE COVERAGE...
LAKE-WIDE SURFACE TEMPERATURES HAVE DROPPED OVER LAKE ERIE DUE TO
A RECENT ARCTIC BLAST. ICE HAS GROWN NOTABLY OVER THE LAST WEEK
AND WILL CONTINUE TO GROW ESPECIALLY OVER THE MORE SHALLOW
WESTERN BASIN AND NEAR SHORES. THE ICE COVERAGE IS RUNNING ABOVE
NORMAL FOR THIS TIME OF YEAR ACCORDING TO THE GREAT LAKES
ENVIRONMENTAL RESEARCH LAB ICE FORECAST MODEL.

RIVER WATER TEMPERATURES HAVE DROPPED INTO THE MID 30S AND LEVELS
HAVE DROPPED NOTABLY RECENTLY. SIGNIFICANT ICE FORMATION HAS BEEN
OBSERVED. TEMPERATURES WILL REMAIN BELOW NORMAL FOR DAYS 1-5 AND
THEN ABOVE NORMAL FOR THE WEEKEND INTO NEXT WEEK. OUTLOOK IS FOR
SIGNIFICANT ICE GROWTH OVER THE NEXT WEEK WITH SOME DECAY OVER THE
WEEKEND.

...SOIL MOISTURE...
TOP SOIL REMAINS FROZEN DUE TO RECENT COLD SNAP. THE REGION IS
EXPECTED TO EXPERIENCE BRIEF THAW THIS WEEKEND WHICH WILL MELT
MOST OF THE SNOW. OVERALL THE TOP SOILS WILL NOT THAW ENOUGH TO
ABSORB ANY RUNOFF.

...PRECIPITATION AND TEMPERATURE FORECASTS...
TEMPERATURES ARE EXPECTED TO REMAIN BELOW NORMAL OVER THE SHORT
TERM...ABOUT 10 DEGREES BELOW NORMAL. BY THE WEEKEND A WARMER
PATTERN WILL MOVE IN WITH TEMPERATURES IN THE 40S. THE LONG TERM
MODELS SUGGEST NEAR TO SLIGHTLY BELOW NORMAL TEMPERATURES AND
PRECIPITATION FOR WINTER. SPRING OUTLOOKS SUGGEST NORMAL
TEMPERATURES AND ABOVE NORMAL RAINFALL.

...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 LONG
TERM TEMPERATURE OUTLOOKS SUGGEST TEMPERATURES AT OR ABOVE NORMAL
THROUGH SPRING. THE PRECIPITATION OUTLOOKS SHOW MORE NEUTRAL
CONDITIONS EXCEPT FOR EARLY WINTER.

...FLOOD POTENTIAL SUMMARY AND OUTLOOK...
IN SUMMARY...THE ANTECEDENT CONDITIONS WITH FROZEN GROUND COVER AND
THE MINIMAL SNOW PACK COMBINE TO PRODUCE A NEAR NORMAL CHANCE FOR
FLOODING THIS WINTER. THE POTENTIAL FOR A WETTER THAN NORMAL
SPRING SUGGESTS AN ABOVE NORMAL FLOOD POTENTIAL. CLIMATOLOGY
FAVORS MARCH AND APRIL AS THE MOST FREQUENT PERIOD FOR FLOODS. BY
THE TIME THE SPRING THAW ARRIVES CONDITIONS COULD FAVOR A
HEIGHTENED FLOOD RISK.

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.

THE NEXT WINTER/SPRING FLOOD OUTLOOK WILL BE ISSUED ON JANUARY
22ND.


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