Flood Potential Outlook
Issued by NWS North Platte, NE
FGUS73 KLBF 161916
Probabilistic Hydrologic Outlook
National Weather Service North Platte NE
116 PM CST Thu Feb 16 2017
...Spring Flood and Water Resource Outlook...
...Average Flood Potential this Spring...
This Spring Flood and Water Resource Outlook is for the North Platte
Hydrologic Service Area, which covers western and north central
Nebraska. The river basins include: The North Platte and South
Platte, as well as, the Platte River in western Nebraska, Frenchman
Creek and Stinking Water Creek in southwest Nebraska, the Loup and
Dismal Rivers in the Sandhills of Nebraska, and portions of the
Elkhorn and Niobrara Rivers in north central Nebraska.
.Flood Outlook Summary...
At this time, the probability of spring flooding from March through
May is generally around average for most of central and western
Nebraska. The potential for flooding in southwestern Nebraska,
including Frenchman and Stinking Water Creeks, is below average.
The potential for ice jam related flooding is below average. Most of
the ice has already come off the lakes and rivers due to recent warm
spells and only minimal amounts of ice remain.
The potential for rainfall induced flash flooding is below average
is not quantifiable. This type of flooding is most likely to occur
during the later spring and summer months.
.Snow Cover and Liquid Water Content...
As of February 16th, only a minimal amount of snowpack remained
across northern Nebraska, mainly in the Niobrara and Elkhorn River
basins. With above normal temperatures forecast over the next week,
any remaining snow cover will melt.
.Reservoir and Mountain Snowpack Conditions...
Normal operations are ongoing at reservoirs along the North Platte
River for this time of year. Releases from these dams have been
limited through the winter months, with inflows generally coming
from melted snow. Because of these operations, reservoir levels have
risen through the winter months. The current reservoir storage
across Wyoming, as well as Lake McConaughy, are slightly above
average for this time of year.
As of mid-February, the snowpack in the North Platte and South
Platte River Basins in Colorado and Wyoming were slightly above
average and higher than last year. Flooding from snowmelt runoff is
highly dependent on how quickly snowmelt occurs in the low to mid
elevations of the mountains, typically 8500 feet and lower.
.Soil Conditions and Frost Depths...
Soil moisture across northern Nebraska is above average with near
average soil moisture elsewhere. Soil temperatures sensors indicate
that most areas have a 4 inch soil temperature in the lower to mid
30s. Therefore, the frost depth is minimal and runoff will be able
to be easily absorbed into the ground.
.River and Lake Ice Conditions...
Most of the ice cover on the larger lakes has melted with mostly
open water reported. Most of the ice has come off, with only minimal
amounts of shore ice remaining. River flows in areas that are ice
free range from normal to above normal for this time of year.
Precipitation so far this water year, since October 1, 2016, has
been above average, with the exception of central and southwestern
Nebraska where it has been below average. Most locations have
received between two and five inches of precipitation since late
fall, about one to two inches more than usual.
Water temperatures in the tropical Pacific ocean are around average,
indicating El Nino - Southern Oscillation (ENSO) neutral conditions.
The outlook for the spring and summer is for ENSO neutral conditions
to continue. ENSO neutral conditions generally bring a warmer and
wetter pattern to the southeastern half of the United States, with
Nebraska being in the transition zones between the airmasses and the
polar and subtropical jet streams.
According to the Climate Prediction Center, the latest 8 to 14 day
outlook for February 23 to March 2 calls for around normal to
slightly above average temperatures with a greater chance for above
The latest 90 day outlook for March, April and May indicates a
greater chance for above normal temperatures, and equal chances for
above, below or average precipitation.
This is the first spring flood and water resource outlook for 2017.
Long-range probalistic outlooks are issued near the middle of the
month throughout the year. The next scheduled outlook will be issued
on March 2, 2017.