WeatherTalk: Rainy fall could be the first step to a spring flood

Keep in mind that water does not bubble up out of the ground and make a flood.

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The fall has been rainy across the Red River basin. The mid-to-late October rain, in particular, has left the topsoil quite saturated. Deeper moisture is still drier than average, as indicated by the low levels in rivers, lakes and reservoirs. With regard to spring flooding, it is the topsoil moisture that poses the greatest concern. Having storage room in reservoirs is not as important in a spring runoff flood as the fact that soils will be unable to absorb much water.

But keep in mind that water does not bubble up out of the ground and make a flood. The wet soils only matter of we start piling up a wet snowpack. Also, there is no need to count the number of inches of snow. Snow varies greatly in its water content. Of greater concern would be a very wet, moisture-laden snowpack in March. Add some rain at the time of melting, and there's concern about a spring flood. At the moment, there's nothing to worry about.

John Wheeler is Chief Meteorologist for WDAY, a position he has had since May of 1985. Wheeler grew up in the South, in Louisiana and Alabama, and cites his family's move to the Midwest as important to developing his fascination with weather and climate. Wheeler lived in Wisconsin and Iowa as a teenager. He attended Iowa State University and achieved a B.S. degree in Meteorology in 1984. Wheeler worked about a year at WOI-TV in central Iowa before moving to Fargo and WDAY..
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