116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
The risk of spring flooding on the Mississippi River, as well as its tributaries, including the Cedar and Iowa rivers, is near to being below normal, the National Weather Service reported Thursday.
The Cedar River at Cedar Rapids has a 5 percent likelihood of reaching major flood stage of 16 feet this spring, compared with the 7 percent historical average, the National Weather Service reported.,
The river is 15 percent likely to reach minor flood stage of 12 feet at Cedar Rapids, which is below the historical risk of 25 percent.
The Iowa River at Iowa City historically has a less than 5 percent chance of reaching its major flood stage of 26 feet and its minor flood stage of 23.5 feet. The Weather Service reported that's also the likelihood for this spring.
The service did report the probability of the English River reaching minor flood stage of 14 feet at Kalona this spring is around 51 percent, only slightly below the 53 percent chance in a normal year.
The possibility of spring flooding depends, of course, on the amount, location and frequency of rainfall, the National Weather Service states.
Abnormally dry to moderate drought conditions and below normal soil moisture also reduce the flood risk.
The pace of snowmelt also is a factor, but to a lesser extent this year because the snow cover is below normal for much of the area.
The exception is the northern reaches of the Mississippi River basin, which had more snow. A rapid snowmelt there would elevate the spring flood risk on the Mississippi River.
Because the ground is not fully saturated, the soil will be able to handle some snowmelt and precipitation this season. That is especially true once the soil is frost-free.
Thursday's forecast from the National Weather Service's Quad Cities Hydrologic Service Area, which covers part of Eastern Iowa, northwest and west central Illinois and extreme northeast Missouri, was the first of the spring season.
The service plans to issue an updated flood forecast Feb. 24.
Cedar Rapids’ $750 million permanent Flood Control System to protect the city against future floods has seen an uptick in work in recent years, aided by an influx of local, state and federal funding.
Around 30 projects in the coming years will add flood control segments around Time Check and Cedar Lake, protect the downtown area with floodgates and other enhancements and enhance protection around the New Bohemian and Czech Village districts.
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