Extended Streamflow Guidance
Issued by NWS North Central River Forecast Center

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UPPER MIDWEST SPRING SNOWMELT AND FLOOD POTENTIAL OUTLOOK
NWS NORTH CENTRAL RIVER FORECAST CENTER TWIN CITIES/CHANHASSEN MN
800 AM CST WED FEB 15 2017

FOR A LINK TO THE NCRFC 2017 SPRING HYDROLOGIC OUTLOOK, WHICH
CONTAINS SEVERAL REFERENCE GRAPHICS THAT RELATE TO THE SNOWMELT
SEASON ANTECEDENT AND CURRENT HYDROMETEOROLOGIC CONDITIONS, REFER
TO THE NCRFC WEB PAGE:  HTTP://WWW.WEATHER.GOV/NCRFC

THIS OUTLOOK REFERENCES INFORMATION FROM THE FOLLOWING PARTNERS:
- UNITED STATES GEOLOGICAL SURVEY (USGS)
- REGIONAL CLIMATE CENTERS (MIDWEST-MRCC AND HIGH PLAINS-HPRCC)
- US DROUGHT MONITOR (NIDIS)
- NATIONAL OPERATIONAL HYDROLOGIC REMOTE SENSING CENTER (NOHRSC)


THE FOLLOWING 2017 SPRING OUTLOOK ISSUANCE DATES HAVE BEEN SET IN
COORDINATION WITH ALL NWS REGIONS AND NWS HQ:

NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE ISSUES SPRING FLOOD OUTLOOK WITH
PROBABILISTIC PRODUCTS ON:
  * THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 16, 2017
  * THURSDAY, MARCH 2, 2017

FLOOD SAFETY AWARENESS INFORMATION WILL BE DISSEMINATED
  * MARCH 13-17, 2017

NOAA NATIONAL SPRING OUTLOOK PRESS BRIEFING WILL BE ON:
  * THURSDAY, MARCH 16, 2017

            ********************************
             SPRING 2017 NCRFC AREA SUMMARY
            ********************************

2017 EARLY SPRING BASIN CONDITIONS AS OF FEBRUARY 12, 2017.

LOOKING BACK TO LAST FALL, TEMPERATURES ACROSS THE NCRFC REGION HAVE
GENERALLY BEEN MUCH WARMER THAN AVERAGE. IN SEPTEMBER AND OCTOBER,
AVERAGE TEMPERATURES RANGED FROM 1 TO 2 DEGREES ABOVE NORMAL
ACROSS ND, TO AS MUCH AS 5 TO 6 DEGREES ABOVE NORMAL IN MO/IL/IN/MI.
NOVEMBER WAS EVEN WARMER, RANGING FROM 2-3 DEGREES WARMER THAN
AVERAGE ACROSS MO/IL/IN/MI, ALL THE WAY TO 12-13 DEGREES ABOVE
NORMAL IN ND!  SEVERAL RECORD HIGH TEMPERATURES WERE ESTABLISHED
DURING THIS PERIOD.  DECEMBER TEMPERATURES WERE MUCH CLOSER TO
NORMAL, BUT JANUARY RETURNED TO A WARMER REGIME AGAIN WITH AVERAGE
TEMPERATURES 3-6 DEGREES ABOVE NORMAL.

OVERALL, MUCH OF THE UPPER MIDWEST REGION WAS WETTER THAN NORMAL
THROUGH THE FALL AND WINTER MONTHS.  BUT THERE WAS SOME REGIONAL
VARIABILITY SEEN. SEPTEMBER AND OCTOBER SAW BANDS OF HEAVIER RAINS
AFFECTING IA, WI, AND SOUTHERN MN, AS WELL AS PARTS OF ND.  BELOW
NORMAL RAINFALL WAS SEEN FROM SOUTHERN IA INTO MO AND NORTHERN IL.
NOVEMBER HAD MORE NORMAL PRECIPITATION OVER MOST OF THE REGION,
WITH THE EXCEPTION OF THE DAKOTAS, WHICH SAW SEVERAL HEAVIER
PRECIPITATION EVENTS. DECEMBER WAS QUITE WET OVER THE NORTHERN
AREAS AGAIN, WITH 1.5 TO 3 TIMES THE AMOUNT OF NORMAL PRECIPITATION
FROM MN/WI/NORTHERN IA UP INTO ND. A POTENT STORM SYSTEM AROUND
CHRISTMAS BROUGHT WIDESPREAD RAIN AND SNOW, WITH LIQUID AMOUNTS OF
OVER AN INCH.  MEANWHILE, MO/IL/IN/MI SAW LESS THAN HALF THE NORMAL
AMOUNT OF PRECIPITATION. JANUARY CONTINUED THE OVERALL WET TREND
ACROSS THE NORTH, WITH MORE NORMAL PRECIPITATION OVER THE SOUTHERN
AREAS.

SNOWFALL HAS ALSO BEEN ABOVE NORMAL FOR ND/MN/WI AND THE UPPER
PENINSULA OF MI, AND BELOW NORMAL FOR MO/IL/IN/LOWER MI, AND ALSO
SOUTHERN IA. SNOW COVER AS OF FEB 12TH STILL SHOWS OVER A FOOT ON
THE GROUND FROM CENTRAL INTO NORTHEAST ND, ACROSS FAR NORTHERN MN,
AND INTO THE U.P.  A GENERAL BAND BETWEEN 2 AND 8 INCHES PREVAILS
FROM SOUTHEAST MN/NORTHEAST IA INTO CENTRAL WI, AND INTO NORTHERN
LOWER MI. THERE IS NO SNOW FROM SOUTHEAST ND AND SOUTHWEST MN,
AND SOUTH OF A LINE FROM SIOUX FALLS, TO WATERLOO, TO MILWAUKEE,
CHICAGO, TO GRAND RAPIDS AND FLINT MICHIGAN.

WATER EQUIVALENT IN THE SNOW COVER IS QUITE HIGH ACROSS ND, WHERE
BETWEEN 4 AND 5 INCHES OF LIQUID IS PRESENT. MUCH LOWER AMOUNTS
BETWEEN 1 AND 2 INCHES IS PREVALENT FROM SOUTHERN MN/NORTHERN IA,
INTO THE NORTHERN HALF OF WI AND LOWER MI.

WITH THIS PRECIPITATION PATTERN OVER THE PAST SEVERAL MONTHS, SOIL
CONDITIONS FOR MUCH OF THE REGION ARE RATHER WET. THIS IS ESPECIALLY
TRUE FROM ND AND MN, INTO WI AND NORTHERN IA. THE CALCULATED SOIL
MOISTURE RANKING PERCENTILE INDICATES THAT ND, MN, WI, MI AND
NORTHERN IA ARE ALL ABOVE THE 90TH PERCENTILE IN WETNESS AS OF
FEB 12TH. MEANWHILE FROM MO UP INTO ADJACENT PARTS OF SOUTHEAST IA
AND WESTERN IL ARE BELOW THE 30TH PERCENTILE, INDICATING VERY DRY
CONDITIONS FOR THIS TIME OF YEAR.

THE ONLY DROUGHT CONDITIONS THAT REMAIN ACROSS THE NCRFC AREA ARE IN
PARTS OF FAR SOUTHEAST IA AND WESTERN IL, WHERE ABNORMALLY DRY (D0)
CONDITIONS CONTINUE, AND ALSO FOR A SMALL AREA IN MO WHICH IS STILL
DESIGNATED WITH MODERATE DROUGHT (D1). THE WIDESPREAD AND PERSISTENT
PRECIPITATION ELSEWHERE HAS ELIMINATED ANY DROUGHT CONDITIONS SINCE
LAST YEAR.

WITH THE WARM FALL AND EARLY WINTER, COMBINED WITH DEEPER SNOWS
ACROSS THE NORTH, OVERALL FROST DEPTH IS LESS THAN NORMAL THIS
YEAR. FROST DEPTH IS GENERALLY BETWEEN 8 AND 20 INCHES AROUND
THE UPPER MIDWEST. BUT SOME AREAS HAVE SEEN THE FROST ALREADY LEAVE
THE GROUND.

STREAM FLOW ACROSS MOST OF THE REGION IS MUCH ABOVE NORMAL FOR THIS
TIME OF YEAR, ESPECIALLY ACROSS ND, MN, WI, AND NORTHERN IA. FLOW
NEAR THE SEASONAL NORMAL WAS SEEN ACROSS SOUTHERN IA, IL, IN,
AND MI. THE ONLY AREA THAT HAS BELOW NORMAL STREAM FLOW FOR
MID-FEBRUARY IS OVER PARTS OF MO WHERE DROUGHT CONDITIONS LINGER.

HIGH STREAM FLOW COMBINED WITH PERIODIC COLD SPELLS IN DECEMBER
AND JANUARY LED TO FREEZE UP ICE JAMMING ACROSS IA, IL, MI, WI, AND
IN. AS TEMPERATURES MODERATED AND FLOW DECREASED SLIGHTLY, FLOODING
FROM ICE ACTION HAS BEEN ALLEVIATED SINCE ITS PEAK IN THE LATTER
HALF OF JANUARY.

         **********************
          GREAT LAKES DRAINAGE
         **********************

TEMPERATURES HAVE GENERALLY BEEN QUITE A BIT ABOVE AVERAGE SINCE
LAST FALL. IN SEPTEMBER AND OCTOBER, AVERAGE TEMPERATURES RANGED
FROM 2 TO 5 DEGREES ABOVE NORMAL. NOVEMBER WAS EVEN WARMER, RANGING
FROM 4 TO AS MUCH AS 10 DEGREES ABOVE NORMAL, WITH SEVERAL RECORD
HIGHS SET. DECEMBER TEMPERATURES WERE MUCH CLOSER TO NORMAL, BUT
JANUARY RETURNED TO A WARMER REGIME AGAIN WITH AVERAGE TEMPERATURES
4-6 DEGREES ABOVE NORMAL.

SEPTEMBER AND OCTOBER SAW NEAR NORMAL PRECIPITATION, WHILE
NOVEMBER SAW SLIGHTLY BELOW NORMAL MOISTURE, EXCEPT FOR THE
ARROWHEAD OF MN. DECEMBER AND JANUARY WERE WELL ABOVE NORMAL,
WITH 1.5 TO 2 TIMES THE AMOUNT OF NORMAL.

BUT DESPITE ALL OF THIS PRECIPITATION, THE WARM TEMPERATURES
ALLOWED PERIODIC MELTING, AND KEPT THE GREAT LAKES FROM MAKING
A LARGE AMOUNT OF ICE COVER. LOWER MICHIGAN AND SOUTHERN WI HAS
LITTLE OR NO SNOW COVER, WITH SNOW AMOUNTS FURTHER NORTH IN THE
4 TO 8 INCH RANGE, EXCEPT FOR THE LAKE EFFECT BELTS, WHERE A FOOT
OR PERHAPS TWO REMAINS.  THE AREAS WITH LESS SNOW HAVE WATER
EQUIVALENT VALUES OF AN INCH OR LESS, WHILE THE LAKE EFFECT AREAS
SHOW LOCALLY UP TO 4 OR 5 INCHES. RIVER FLOW IS NEAR TO ABOVE
NORMAL, WITH MOIST SOILS AND FROST DEPTHS BETWEEN 2 AND 20 INCHES.


       **********************************
        UPPER MISSISSIPPI RIVER DRAINAGE
       **********************************

TEMPERATURES HAVE BEEN MUCH ABOVE AVERAGE SINCE LAST FALL. IN
SEPTEMBER AND OCTOBER, AVERAGE TEMPERATURES RANGED FROM 1 TO 5
DEGREES ABOVE NORMAL. NOVEMBER WAS EVEN WARMER, RANGING FROM
5 TO AS MUCH AS 9 DEGREES ABOVE NORMAL, WITH SEVERAL RECORD HIGHS
SET. DECEMBER TEMPERATURES WERE MUCH CLOSER TO NORMAL, PERHAPS EVEN
A BIT BELOW NORMAL. BUT JANUARY RETURNED TO A WARMER REGIME AGAIN
WITH AVERAGE TEMPERATURES 2-5 DEGREES ABOVE NORMAL.

MANY AREAS IN THE UPPER MISSISSIPPI BASIN SAW NORMAL TO ABOVE
NORMAL RAINFALL FROM SEPTEMBER TO NOVEMBER, WITH THE EXCEPTION OF
SOUTHERN IA, NORTHERN MO, AND WESTERN IL, WHICH WERE BELOW NORMAL.
THESE DRY AREAS STAYED DRY IN DECEMBER AND JANUARY AS WELL, WHILE
THE REMAINDER OF THE UPPER MISSISSIPPI DRAINAGE CONTINUED THE ABOVE
NORMAL TREND.

EVEN WITH ALL OF THE PRECIPITATION, THE WARM TEMPERATURES ALLOWED
FOR PERIODIC MELTS. LITTLE OR NO SNOW COVER IS SEEN FROM SOUTHWEST
MN INTO CENTRAL IA, AND SOUTH OF A LINE FROM SIOUX FALLS, TO
WATERLOO, TO MILWAUKEE. SNOW DEPTH GREATER THAN 10 INCHES IS
CONFINED TO THE NORTHERN THIRDS OF MN AND WI, WITH AN AREA OF
2-8 INCH DEPTH FROM NORTHERN IA INTO CENTRAL WI. GENERALLY LESS
THAN 4 INCHES IS SEEN ELSEWHERE. THE AREAS WITH LESS SNOW HAVE
WATER EQUIVALENT VALUES OF AN INCH OR LESS, WHILE THE HEAVIER SNOW
AREAS SHOW LOCALLY UP TO 3 OR 4 INCHES. RIVER FLOW IS NEAR TO ABOVE
NORMAL, WITH MOIST SOILS AND FROST DEPTHS BETWEEN 8 AND 20 INCHES.


       *********************
        HUDSON BAY DRAINAGE
       *********************

RED RIVER OF THE NORTH RIVER BASIN

TEMPERATURE PATTERNS OVER THE RED RIVER BASIN SHOWED A GENERAL
1 TO 2 DEGREES ABOVE NORMAL TREND IN SEPTEMBER AND OCTOBER. BUT
RECORD WARMTH IN NOVEMBER SAW READINGS 9 TO 13 DEGREES ABOVE NORMAL!
A COLDER REGIME SETTLED IN FOR DECEMBER WITH NEAR OR EVEN BELOW
NORMAL TEMPERATURES, BEFORE WARMER AIR RETURNED.

PRECIPITATION WAS MORE VARIABLE FOR THE PAST 5 MONTHS, WITH PARTS
OF THE BASIN ABOVE AVERAGE, AND PARTS BELOW AVERAGE EACH MONTH.
THE EXCEPTION WAS CHILLY DECEMBER, WHICH SAW SIGNIFICANT STORMS
BRING 200-300 PERCENT OF NORMAL PRECIPITATION. HEAVY SNOW AND
BLIZZARD CONDITIONS PLAGUED THE REGION. PERIODIC WARM SPELLS IN
JANUARY HELPED TO MELT SOME OF THE SNOW, ESPECIALLY OVER THE
SOUTHERN END OF THE BASIN, SOUTH OF I-94. VERY LITTLE SNOW COVER
REMAINS SOUTH OF THAT LINE, BUT AMOUNTS ARE MUCH HIGHER NORTH OF
HIGHWAY 2, WHERE WITH THE SNOW COVER FROM 8 INCHES TO AS MUCH AS
2 FEET LINGERS.

THE AREAS WITH LESS SNOW HAVE WATER EQUIVALENT VALUES OF LESS
THAN AN INCH, WHILE THE HEAVIER SNOW AREAS SHOW UP TO 4-6 INCHES.
2-3 INCHES OF WATER IS IN THE LOWER SHEYENNE, OTTERTAIL, AND BUFFALO
BASINS, BUT ELSEWHERE IN THE UPPER RED BASIN, WATER EQUIVALENT
VALUES ARE AN INCH OR LESS.  EVEN THOUGH THE SNOW HAS DIMINISHED
IN THE WILD RICE AND BOIS DE SIOUX BASINS UPSTREAM OF FARGO, WE
HAVE NOT SEEN A COMMENSURATE RESPONSE IN THE RIVER SYSTEM.  LOCAL
FIELD REPORTS AND SOIL MOISTURE MEASUREMENTS SUGGEST THAT MUCH
OF THE MELTED SNOW REMAINS IN THE SOIL COLUMN OR IN THE FIELDS AND
WILL ENTER THE DRAINAGE SYSTEM WHEN THE TILES AND DITCHES THAW.
THE SHEYENNE UPSTREAM OF BALDHILL DAM, THE PARK, TURTLE, PEMBINA,
AND RED LAKE BASINS HAVE THE MOST WATER IN THE SNOW PACK. RIVER
FLOW IS NEAR TO ABOVE NORMAL, WITH MOIST SOILS AND FROST DEPTHS
BETWEEN 10 AND 20 INCHES.

SOURIS RIVER BASIN

TEMPERATURE PATTERNS OVER THE SOURIS BASIN WERE SIMILAR TO THOSE IN
THE RED RIVER BASIN, GENERALLY ABOVE NORMAL WITH AN EXTREMELY WARM
NOVEMBER. NOVEMBER TEMPERATURES WERE 10 TO 14 DEGREES ABOVE NORMAL.
PRECIPITATION WAS ALSO ABOVE NORMAL, ESPECIALLY IN DECEMBER AND
JANUARY.

RIVERS AND LAKES ARE ALL AT NORMAL LEVELS FOR THIS TIME OF YEAR WITH
THE ALAMEDA, RAFFERTY, AND LAKE DARLING RESERVOIRS ALL DRAWN DOWN TO
THEIR PRESCRIBED LEVELS IN ANTICIPATION OF THE COMING SPRING MELT.
SNOW COVER IS NOT UNIFORMLY DISTRIBUTED ACROSS THE SOURIS RIVER
BASIN WITH 1.5 - 3.0 INCHES OF WATER EQUIVALENT FOUND IN THE AREAS
UPSTREAM OF ALAMEDA AND RAFFERTY RESERVOIRS IN SASKATCHEWAN,
INCREASING RAPIDLY TO A SOLID 4 INCHES OF WATER EQUIVALENT NEAR THE
BORDER, AND AGAIN INCREASING TO AN AVERAGE OF 4.5 - 5.0 INCHES OF
WATER EQUIVALENT IN THE CONTRIBUTING AREA DOWNSTREAM OF MINOT.

DUE TO THE HEAVY SNOW COVER THAT ARRIVED AT THE END OF A VERY WARM
NOVEMBER, FROST DEPTH IN THE SOIL IS GENERALLY LESS THAN NORMAL.
THERE ARE REPORTS OF UNFROZEN GROUND UNDER THE DEEPEST SNOWS, WHICH
SHOULD ALLOW THIS MINIMALLY FROZEN SOIL TO OPEN UP EARLY AND ALLOW
FOR A LARGER THAN NORMAL FRACTION OF MELTWATER TO INFILTRATE INTO
THE GROUND.

DEVILS LAKE BASIN

THE DEVILS LAKE BASIN IS SEEING CONDITIONS VERY SIMILAR TO THOSE OF
THE SOURIS BASIN. TEMPERATURES AND PRECIPITATION HAVE BEEN GENERALLY
ABOVE NORMAL, ESPECIALLY NOVEMBER TEMPERATURES AND DECEMBER SNOWS.
WIDESPREAD SNOW DEPTHS OF 12-24 INCHES ARE COMMON ACROSS THE BASIN,
AND SOME LOCATIONS HAVE EVEN MORE. WATER CONTENT IN THE SNOW IS IN
THE 4-5 INCH RANGE. RIVER FLOW IS ABOVE NORMAL, WITH MOIST SOILS AND
FROST DEPTHS BETWEEN 8 AND 20 INCHES.

$$

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