1/3 of U.S. at Risk of 'Potentially Historic Flooding' in Coming Weeks

Widespread Spring Flooding Forecast

related: Fargo Rallies to the Cause as Red River Rises to ‘Major’ Flood Level

HOLLY NOTE: This is an event worth watching. Remember the massive floods in Spring 2008 and last year? It literally destroyed millions of acres of crops and killed millions of livestock.

The map below shows the flood risk targets much of our grain belt. Should this flooding hit mid-America, look for food prices to rise again as documented in Floods Swell Food Prices. and in Our Ruined Harvest: A Cornucopia of Bad Circumstances.

These are not isolated instances. During the 1993 flood that hit Iowa, Missouri and neighboring states, crop losses pegged $21 Billion, which were then passed onto the consumer.

March 16, 2010

WASHINGTON — With truckloads of sandbags rolling into cities such as Fargo, N.D., and Moorhead, Minn., the government confirmed residents' fears Tuesday, forecasting major flooding in the Midwest.

"The flood risk is above average over one-third of the country," said John Hayes, the National Weather Service director.

North Dakota, Minnesota, South Dakota and Iowa face the greatest flood threat.

But the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration also said there is an above-normal chance of flooding from West Texas across the South to the Atlantic Coast and north to the southern two-thirds of New England and much of the Midwest.

Bob Rose, a meteorologist with the Lower Colorado River Authority, said that Austin is already 3 inches above its annual rainfall average and that most lakes in Central Texas are near their normal levels. Paired with the area's thin, rocky soil, Central Texas has an above-average chance of severe flooding through the end of the rainy season in June, meteorologists say.

A winter influenced by El Niño has left large areas soggier than usual, NOAA said. El Niño, a periodic warming in the Pacific Ocean that can affect weather worldwide, is expected to continue at least through spring.

This year's snowpack tops last year's in many areas, with as much as 10 inches of water resulting in some regions. This snowpack is among the top 10 since World War II, Hayes said, so rivers in the Midwest are likely to remain above flood stage for weeks or more. Last March and April, floods in North Dakota and Minnesota damaged hundreds of homes and caused an estimated $100 million in damage.

"We are looking at potentially historic flooding," NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco said. "It's a terrible case of déjà vu, but this time the flooding will likely be more widespread."

Additional material from Statesman staff writer Isadora Vail and Bloomberg News.