Spring Could See Above Normal River Flooding - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Spring Could See Above Normal River Flooding

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Tallahassee, FL (WALB)  The National Weather Service says there is an above normal potential in the spring for Southwest Georgia, South Central Georgia, Southeast Alabama, the Florida Panhandle and the Florida Big Bend area.

Some locations may even experience major flooding.

The active el nino pattern across the southeastern U.S. produced above normal precipitation through much of the winter season 2009-2010.

Totals across the Tallahassee hydrologic service area (HSA) during the past 90 days ranged from 20 to 28 inches from the western Florida big bend through much of the Florida panhandle into southeast Alabama and a small portion of southwest Georgia.

Over the remainder of southwest and south central Georgia and the eastern Florida big bend...amounts from 12 to 20 inches were common.

These totals represent 110 to 200 percent of normal precipitation...or
departures from 2 to 12 inches above normal. 

The above normal precipitation since December 2009 produced wet to
excessively wet soil moisture conditions.

Ground water levels increased significantly since December...with up to a 75 percent increase throughout the upper Suwannee river basin in January.

River and stream flows since December have increased from near normal to above normal
in January and February.

Excessive rainfall from an endless series of gulf low pressure systems produced minor to moderate river flooding during the past three months.

The 3-month precipitation outlook from the climate prediction center for March through May calls for a 35 to 40 percent chance of above normal precipitation across the Florida big bend and south central Georgia.

And equal chances of above normal...normal or below normal precipitation for the Florida panhandle...southeast Alabama and southwest Georgia.

A continuation of above normal rainfall into March will exacerbate the current hydrologic conditions...with an above normal risk for additional minor to moderate flooding.


Some locations may even experience major flooding.

Exactly which basins will flood and to what extent will depend on where and how much rainfall accumulates during the next several weeks.

River flood climatologies for the Flint,  Apalachicola, Pea, Chipola, Shoal, Choctawhatchee, Ochlockonee and Suwannee watersheds which include their associated upstream tributaries
suggest the frequency of river flooding typically peaks from early March through the first week in April on average.

Based on the combination of hydrologic conditions this winter season, historical river flood climatology and expected normal to above normal precipitation during the next three months; there will be an above normal potential for river flooding this spring season across the region.