Friday, 10 May 2019

Unprecedented flood season affecting 200 million Americans latest snowstorm breaks a 117-year-old record in Minnesota: Bleak outlook for farmers


Photo credit strangesounds.org

Spare a thought for parts of the US, we are now six weeks into spring as the latest snowstorm breaks a 117-year-old record in Minnesota.
The winter like-storm unleashed historic snow in some locations on Wednesday and Thursday.
According to AccuWeather, the same storm system that brought an outbreak of severe weather to the South-Central states through the first portion of this week created enough cold air to produce a zone of heavy accumulating snow on its northwestern side.

Snow fell along a zone from Sioux Falls, South Dakota, to Duluth, Minnesota. While not accumulating, snowflakes even managed to fall in parts of Minneapolis.

Through Thursday morning, Duluth was blanketed with 10.6 inches of snow for this event and 10.9 inches total for the month, leading to a number of broken snowfall records, according to data from the National Weather Service. One spot just southwest of Duluth reported 12 inches of snow as of Thursday afternoon.

The 8.3 inches on Wednesday, May 8, set the all-time record for most snow on a single day in the month of May. The previous record was 5.5 inches, set on May 10, 1902. The burst of May snow also shattered the record for the snowiest month of May ever in Duluth, eclipsing the previous record of 8.1 total inches of snow set in May of 1954. It was also the snowiest May 8 in Duluth history as the more than 8 inches of snow surpassed the previous record for the day of 5 inches set way back in 1924. Record-keeping began in 1884.

Meanwhile, recent rainfall has already-high water levels surging in the Great Lakes, contributing to flooding along the lakeshores in parts of Ohio and Michigan, and New York is expected to follow suit in the days ahead.

Areas along the Lake Ontario shoreline are "at the precipice of a disaster," according to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, as forecasts for additional rain threaten to push water levels past flood level. The worst of the flooding from heavy rain and snowmelt is expected to occur in a matter of days, and officials are concerned that stronger winds late this week into the weekend could churn up potentially damaging waves.

New York state deployed more than 800,000 sandbags, hundreds of pumps and 920 feet of temporary dams in eight counties along Lake Ontario in preparation for potential flooding, according to the Associated Press. Members of the New York National Guard are on standby.

The US has never seen catastrophic flooding like this before and NOAA is warning us the flooding will continue into June.
With more than 90% of the upper midwest and great planes are still recovering from record amounts of snow and all that snow is beginning to melt.

That means the US will transform from one of the worst winters in modern history into a flood season that has already taken an apocalyptic turn for farmers across the US.

Millions of acres of farmland are already under water meaning thousands of farmers will not be able to plant crops this summer, with thousands of more farmers who have been financially ruined by the floods and will never return to farming again.

So far, 2019 is already the worst agricultural disaster in modern American history and it is going to get a whole lot worse.

Nearly two-thirds of the Lower 48 states face an elevated risk for flooding through May into June, with the potential for major or moderate flooding in 25 states, the majority of the country is favoured to experience above-average precipitation this spring, increasing the flood risk.

Portions of the United States – especially in the upper Mississippi and Missouri River basins including Nebraska, Minnesota and Iowa – have already experienced record flooding this year. This early flooding was caused by rapid snowmelt combined with heavy spring rain and late season snowfall in areas where soil moisture is high. In some areas, ice jams are exacerbating the flooding. Offices across the National Weather Service have been working with local communities, providing decision-support services and special briefings to emergency managers and other leaders in local, state and federal government to ensure the highest level of readiness before the flooding began.

Additional spring rain and melting snow will prolong and expand flooding, especially in the central and southern U.S. As this excess water flows downstream through the river basins, the flood threat will become worse and geographically more widespread.

Record winter precipitation across a large swath of the country has set the stage for the elevated flood risk. The upper Mississippi and Red River of the North basins have received rain and snow this spring up to 200 per cent above normal.

The areas of greatest risk for moderate to major flooding include the upper, middle, and lower Mississippi River basins including the mainstem Mississippi River, Red River of the North, the Great Lakes, eastern Missouri River, lower Ohio, lower Cumberland, and Tennessee River basins.

“The extensive flooding we’ve seen in the past weeks will continue through May and become dire and may be exacerbated in the coming weeks as the water flows downstream,” said Ed Clark, director of NOAA’s National Water Center in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. “This is shaping up to be a potentially unprecedented flood season, with more than 200 million people at risk for flooding in their communities.”

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