Flood Potential Outlook
Issued by NWS Caribou, ME

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WINTER/SPRING FLOOD POTENTIAL OUTLOOK
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE CARIBOU ME
423 PM EST THU JAN 22 2015

...WINTER/SPRING FLOOD POTENTIAL OUTLOOK FOR NORTHERN...
CENTRAL...AND DOWNEAST MAINE...

THIS IS THE SECOND WINTER/SPRING FLOOD POTENTIAL OUTLOOK FOR
2015...ISSUED BY THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN CARIBOU, MAINE.
THE WINTER/SPRING FLOOD POTENTIAL IS FOR NORTHERN, CENTRAL AND
DOWNEAST MAINE FOR THE TWO-WEEK PERIOD FROM JANUARY 22 THROUGH
FEBRUARY 6, 2015.

THE WINTER/SPRING FLOOD POTENTIAL FOR ALL NORTHERN, CENTRAL, AND
DOWNEAST MAINE IS BELOW NORMAL. LIKEWISE, THE POTENTIAL FOR
FLOODING DUE TO ICE JAMS IS ALSO BELOW NORMAL.

...CLIMATOLOGICAL GUIDANCE...

AFTER A COLD START TO JANUARY, THE REGION EXPERIENCED A BRIEF
RETURN TO WARMER THAN NORMAL CONDITIONS DURING THE MIDDLE PART OF
THE MONTH. ALTHOUGH WE RECEIVED A BIT OF SNOW OVER THE PAST COUPLE
OF WEEKS, THE BIG STORY WAS WIDESPREAD RAIN THAT FELL ACROSS THE
STATE DURING THE WARM PERIOD. WE`VE RETURNED TO NEAR NORMAL
TEMPERATURES AND A DRIER PATTERN OVER THE PAST COUPLE OF DAYS,
HOWEVER.

THE COLDER WEATHER LOOKS TO CONTINUE AS THE UPPER AIR PATTERN
WILL FAVOR RIDGING ACROSS THE WESTERN UNITED STATES AND
TROUGHINESS IN THE EAST. THIS PATTERN ALSO TENDS TO FAVOR MORE
ACTIVE WEATHER WITH LOW PRESSURE DEVELOPING OVER THE MID ATLANTIC
EVERY FEW DAYS. THIS PATTERN ALSO FAVORS MORE PROGRESSIVE SYSTEMS,
SO ANY STORMS THAT DO DEVELOP WILL BE FAST-MOVING. WHAT`S NOT
CERTAIN IS TO WHAT EXTENT THESE STORMS WILL AFFECT NORTHERN,
EAST CENTRAL, AND DOWNEAST MAINE. AT THIS TIME, MANY OF THESE LOOK
TO STAY FAR ENOUGH OFF THE COAST THAT SNOW WOULD ONLY AFFECT
SOUTHERN PARTS OUR OUR FORECAST AREA.

THE OFFICIAL NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE 8 TO 10 DAY OUTLOOK, WHICH
IS VALID JANUARY 30 THROUGH FEBRUARY 5, HOLDS TO THE ABOVE
THINKING. IT CALLS FOR BELOW NORMAL TEMPERATURES DURING THIS
PERIOD, ALONG WITH NEAR NORMAL PRECIPITATION EVERY WHERE BUT
ALONG THE COAST, WHICH HAS THE POTENTIAL FOR SLIGHTLY WETTER THAN
NORMAL CONDITIONS.

...OBSERVED SNOW DEPTH AND WATER EQUIVALENTS...

ALTHOUGH OVERALL SEASONAL SNOWFALL HAS BEEN ABOVE NORMAL, THE
SNOWPACK REMAINS BELOW NORMAL FOR MID TO LATE JANUARY. THIS IS DUE
TO THE RELATIVELY MILD CONDITIONS WE EXPERIENCED IN DECEMBER,
ALONG WITH THE MORE RECENT WARM SPELL JANUARY 18TH AND 19TH. IN
FACT, MUCH OF COASTAL AND DOWNEAST MAINE HAS LITTLE TO NO SNOW ON
THE GROUND AT THIS TIME, WITH BANGOR, HANCOCK, AND MACHIAS ALL
REPORTING SNOW DEPTHS OF ZERO. THE SNOWPACK INCREASES TO 4 TO 10
INCHES AS YOU HEAD INTO THE CENTRAL HIGHLANDS. THE NORTH AND
NORTHWEST PORTIONS OF THE STATE HAVE THE MOST SNOW, BUT EVEN THESE
AREAS ONLY HAVE 10 TO 16 INCHES, WHICH IS AROUND 10 INCHES LESS
THAN WHAT IS NORMAL FOR THIS TIME OF YEAR. THE HIGHER TERRAIN IN
THE NORTH MAINE WOODS LIKELY HAS AROUND 20 INCHES OF SNOW ON THE
GROUND.

THE SNOW WATER EQUIVALENT, OR THE AMOUNT OF WATER CONTAINED IN THE
SNOWPACK, IS ALSO BELOW NORMAL FOR EARLY JANUARY. THE CENTRAL
HIGHLANDS HAVE ONLY AN INCH OR TWO OF LIQUID IN THE SNOW, WHILE 2
TO 4 INCHES IS COMMON OVER THE NORTHERN HALF OF OUR FORECAST AREA.

...SOIL MOISTURE AND WATER SUPPLY CONDITIONS...

NEAR SURFACE SOIL MOISTURE CONDITIONS, WHICH ARE INDICATIVE OF
NEAR TERM MOISTURE TRENDS, ARE GENERALLY NEAR NORMAL TO SLIGHTLY
WETTER THAN NORMAL. THIS IS LIKELY DUE TO THE RECENT WARM RAIN
EVENT AND THE RESULTANT SNOWMELT AND RUNOFF. THE PALMER DROUGHT
INDEX, WHICH IS A MEASURE OF LONGER TERM SOIL MOISTURE STATES,
SHOWED VERY TO EXTREMELY MOIST SOIL CONDITIONS ACROSS OUR AREA.
GIVEN THE AMOUNT OF LIQUID PRECIPITATION AND SNOWMELT WE HAD IN
DECEMBER, THIS SEEMS REASONABLE.

...RIVER AND ICE CONDITIONS...

RIVER FLOWS CONTINUE TO BE A BIT ABOVE NORMAL ACROSS THE AREA, BUT
HAVE RECEDED SINCE EARLIER THIS MONTH. THIS TREND IS EXPECTED TO
CONTINUE OVER THE NEXT SEVERAL DAYS AS COLD WEATHER DOMINATES AND
LITTLE TO NO SNOWMELT OR RUNOFF ARE ANTICIPATED TO OCCUR.

OVERALL, RIVER ICE HAS BEEN ABLE TO GROW AND STRENGTHEN OVER THE
PAST COUPLE OF WEEKS AS THE WEATHER HAS BEEN DOMINATED BY COLD
TEMPERATURES. HOWEVER, THE ICE IS STILL THINNER THAN NORMAL IN
MANY AREAS. NORTHERN WATERWAYS ARE ESTIMATED TO ONLY HAVE ICE
COVER THAT IS 10 TO 15 INCHES THICK. CENTRAL AND SOUTHERN RIVERS,
WHICH WERE LARGELY ICE FREE AT THE BEGINNING OF THE YEAR, HAVE
ICE THAT IS ESTIMATED TO BE LESS THAN 8 INCHES THICK.

THIS BELOW NORMAL ICE COVER IS DUE TO THE WARM AND WET WEATHER WE
SAW THROUGH DECEMBER, WHICH ALLOWED ALL MAJOR WATERWAYS TO
EXPERIENCE BREAK UP LATE IN THE MONTH. THIS RESULTED IN A FEW
BREAKUP JAMS ACROSS THE REGION, SOME OF WHICH ARE STILL IN PLACE.
THE ONSET OF DRASTICALLY COLDER WEATHER IN JANUARY ALLOWED THE
RIVERS TO REFREEZE WITH SOME FREEZE UP JAMS OCCURRING. AT THIS
TIME, KNOWN JAMS INCLUDE A 10-15 MILE LONG JAM ON THE SAINT JOHN
THROUGH SAINT FRANCIS, A 5-8 MILE LONG JAM ON THE AROOSTOOK FROM
CROUSEVILLE THROUGH WASHBURN, AND A FEW SMALLER JAMS ON THE
AROOSTOOK, INCLUDING ONE JUST BELOW FORT FAIRFIELD. THERE IS ALSO
AN ICE JAM ON THE PENOBSCOT RIVER IN ORONO. THESE JAMS ARE STILL
WELL FROZEN IN PLACE AND ARE NOT CAUSING ANY SIGNIFICANT FLOODING
AT THIS TIME. HOWEVER, THEY WILL BEAR WATCHING AS WE HEAD INTO
SPRING AS THEY WILL LIKELY SERVE AS A FOCUS FOR BREAK UP JAMS.

...IN CONCLUSION...

BASED ON THE AFOREMENTIONED INFORMATION, THE WINTER/SPRING FLOOD
POTENTIAL IS BELOW NORMAL ACROSS THE ENTIRE AREA. RIVER FLOWS ARE
SLIGHTLY ABOVE NORMAL AS ARE THE LONGER-TERM SOIL MOISTURE
STATES. ALTHOUGH THE WEATHER PATTERN WILL BE ACTIVE OVER THE NEXT
SEVERAL DAYS, COLD TEMPERATURES WILL KEEP ANY PRECIPITATION IN THE
FORM OF SNOW. THEREFORE, NO SIGNIFICANT SNOW MELT OR HEAVY RAIN
EVENTS ARE ANTICIPATED. AS SUCH, RIVER FLOWS WILL CONTINUE TO
SUBSIDE AND SOIL MOISTURE SHOULD CONTINUE TO LESSEN.

THE POTENTIAL FOR ICE JAM FLOODING IS ALSO BELOW NORMAL. ICE
THICKNESSES ARE THINNER THAN NORMAL ACROSS OUR ENTIRE AREA. WHILE
THERE ARE SOME SIGNIFICANT ICE JAMS IN PLACE, PARTICULARLY ALONG
THE NORTHERN RIVERS, THEY ARE WELL FROZEN IN PLACE. AGAIN, GIVEN
THE COLD PATTERN THAT IS EXPECTED, RIVER ICE GROWTH WITH LITTLE
TO NO ICE MOVEMENT SHOULD PREVAIL.

IT IS IMPORTANT TO REMEMBER THAT VERY HEAVY RAINFALL CAN BRING
FLOODING AT ANY TIME OF THE YEAR, EVEN IN AREAS THAT DON`T HAVE A
SIGNIFICANT SNOWPACK.

THE NEXT WINTER/SPRING FLOOD POTENTIAL OUTLOOK WILL BE ISSUED BY
NWS CARIBOU ON THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 6, 2015.

$$

HASTINGS



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