Spring Floods Hit as Snow Melts, Rivers Near Crest Stage

Spring 2011 is officially here. For some friends, that was realized when they saw the first robin in their yard. For me, it seems to be when I am drawn to a drive with the top down in my car. For a lot of farmers though it could be when they first hear planting reports coming in or when the snow pack melts.

March 14 snowstormI realized the difference in how people in the extreme north (said cause it’s both far away and the winter is unimaginable to me! LOL) started talking about their signs of spring. The first was a tweet from Emily Zweber of Zweber Farms just outside of Minneapolis saying something about the robin she saw but the blog post she wrote about her boys in the mud, well, that certainly made me take notice! But her farm boys aren’t the only ones drawn to be outside in the mud, cause Katie’s daughters had their turns. And since both of these ladies were snowed into Atlanta with me, we have certainly talked about snow this year! While I’m really hopeful I’ve put snow behind me with the last snow on March 14th!  (I celebrated spring with photos yesterday.) But the winter snow of 2011 will haunt a lot of us well after Emily’s boys can play outside in regular clothes!

Understanding 2011 Snowfall

There is immeasurable anecdotal data on significant snowfall. You can check out the reports from individual farm bloggers:

There are people who have run the numbers too, and knowing some areas anticipate more snow this week, I’m assuming final numbers are forthcoming. But this gives you a snapshot of Illinois from the state’s climatologist blog:

2011 Snowfall Departure from Normal

Snowfall for December-February ranged from 15 inches in southern Illinois to over 45 inches in northern Illinois (see maps below). According to the Lincoln NWS office, Peoria reported its snowiest December-February on record with 52.5 inches while Springfield reported its fifth snowiest December-February with 34.2 inches. According to the Chicago NWS office, Rockford reported its third snowiest December-February with 51.2 inches and Chicago reported its fifth snowiest December-February with 56.3 inches.

via A Cold and Snowy Winter in Illinois « Illinois State Climatologist.

And there is plenty more where that came from! While the snow and other precipitation may have been the big news for some time, it’s clear to me now that we need to be really worried about where all that is headed.

Floods in the Mississippi River Basin

Mississippi River Basin

Looking at how widespread this heavy snowfall was, and how much of the US drains into the Mississippi River, and where I’m located…. well, I bet you see where I’m going.

Every time I look up, I’m seeing something about water. It’s still raining and snowing up north and yet, we already have quite a bit of flooding. In fact, the Memphis news stations are talking about the fact that although many along the Mississippi River are familiar with flooding, this year is already higher than average and homes at Tunica Lake have already seen water coming in.

flooded field

A field that will likely be planted to soybeans after water levels go down

The reports calling for widespread flooding are all over the place and from what I gather, that means it won’t be just the areas that regularly flood — like the fields friends farm call their “river ground.”  River ground is low lying close to a river and tends to be wet in spring. These fields tend to be planted later than most in the area. And as you hear in the TV clip, the Mississippi is expected to crest here in the Mid-South in the next day or two. Once that crest passes, hopefully some or our smaller rivers can flow more freely. Those smaller rivers were responsible for significant flooding during last spring’s torrential rains that blew out a lot of the smaller levees. I am hoping that the repair jobs undertaken hold! For me personally, my house is not in a flood plain and at least since I’ve lived here, my neighborhood has fared pretty well.

Kevin told me & I believed him but, I’m a visual learner so looking at the map from the NOAA that Agri-Pulse has on its article showing the areas of the upper Midwest that are expected to have more flooding than normal knocked my socks off! And now I am wondering about all the people up river who like me are tired of bad weather and just want some nice days!

What impacts do you anticipate on your home, farm & community? If projections are for issues in your community, I hope your home and farm fare well and that we all catch a break. May be wishful thinking and I’m okay with that — I’m going to keep wishing!

About Janice Person

I'm Janice & this blog is about my passions -- photography, travel, agriculture & whatever else comes to mind. Putting all those things together is intriguing to me…. I can spend a lot of time soaking it up! It's almost always a colorful adventure!

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10 Responses to Spring Floods Hit as Snow Melts, Rivers Near Crest Stage

  1. zweberfarms March 24, 2011 at 2:49 pm #

    Funny that you posted this today. My post today is how Mother Nature took spring back. I guess we still have a few more days of snow and winter until we in the North can finally have spring. 🙂 Thanks for linking to us. You will need to visit when the snow if finally melted and the mud dries up. Say August?

    • JPlovesCOTTON March 24, 2011 at 10:16 pm #

      I meant to get this up the first of the week but you know how things go! I hope spring gets locked in soon, I have to admit we had a cool snap here too!

  2. Michael March 24, 2011 at 5:13 pm #

    Emily was the lucky one a Zweber Farms. We had rain, one and a half inches of it. Now we have a few days of cold so the melting has stopped and rivers are trying to catch up. Area low spots are full of water and geese as they have paused to wait for ponds north of us to thaw.

    • JPlovesCOTTON March 24, 2011 at 10:17 pm #

      Wow! I’ll keep you in my thoughts! I hope the rivers get a bit of balance.

  3. Katie from the prairie March 24, 2011 at 7:49 pm #

    Great post JP! Thanks for the Pinke Post mud highlight too. I posted ice pictures today. We need a slow melt now to prevent major flooding in North Dakota. While we listening to your flood reports and also be watching the Red River of the North (flows north). Fargo could be in trouble…again along with thousands of acres of farm land. Thanks again!

    • JPlovesCOTTON March 24, 2011 at 10:20 pm #

      I saw your photos…. sadly beautiful. Its getting close to freezing here which could cause really trouble with all the plants that have bloomed! Will keep you guys in my thoughts on the water…. slow & steady thaw seems the answer.

  4. Ryan Goodman March 29, 2011 at 5:49 pm #

    Great post. I wrote about the snow with out cattle (http://bit.ly/i6ICp8) and will be sure to write about any floods we may have in our river bottom pastures. It was the 12th snowiest winter on record for Little Rock, all of it coming within 1 month.

    • JPlovesCOTTON March 29, 2011 at 6:52 pm #

      WHOA! How in the world did I forget all those posts? Thanks for adding them Ryan! Stay dry!


  1. Memphis Weather Has Us Bracing for Historic Flooding of the Mississippi River « ag – a colorful adventure - May 1, 2011

    […] A previous post I wrote on the forecast for spring flooding — I had no idea how bad it would be but felt the winter snowpack up north was so big but spring rains really topped it. WP_SLIDESHOW_IMAGES = { load: 'http://s1.wp.com/wp-content/mu-plugins/slideshow/slideshow-loader.gif?m=1304062085g', prev: 'http://s1.wp.com/wp-content/mu-plugins/slideshow/prev.png?m=1304062085g', next: 'http://s0.wp.com/wp-content/mu-plugins/slideshow/next.png?m=1304062085g', stop: 'http://s0.wp.com/wp-content/mu-plugins/slideshow/stop.png?m=1304062085g', play: 'http://s2.wp.com/wp-content/mu-plugins/slideshow/play.png?m=1304062085g' }; WP_SLIDESHOW_LABELS = { next: 'Next', prev: 'Previous', stop: 'Toggle Playback' }; WP_SLIDESHOW_BLOG_INFO = { blogId: '9957699', subDomain: 'jplovescotton', userId: '0' }; This slideshow requires JavaScript. #gallery-1-slideshow .slideshow-slide img { max-height: 410px; /* Emulate max-height in IE 6 */ _height: expression(this.scrollHeight >= 410 ? '410px' : 'auto'); } jQuery( '.noscript' ).remove(); jQuery( document).ready( function() { var slideShow = new SlideShow( jQuery('#gallery-1-slideshow'), 590, 410, 'fade' ); slideShow.images = [ { 'src': 'http://jplovescotton.files.wordpress.com/2011/05/img_6931.jpg', 'id': '5668', 'caption': ''} , { 'src': 'http://jplovescotton.files.wordpress.com/2011/05/img_7148.jpg', 'id': '5669', 'caption': 'April 30, 2011 the same field'} , { 'src': 'http://jplovescotton.files.wordpress.com/2011/05/sikeston-field-2-week-comparison.png', 'id': '5670', 'caption': ''} , { 'src': 'http://jplovescotton.files.wordpress.com/2011/05/ms-river-flooded.jpg', 'id': '5671', 'caption': ''} , { 'src': 'http://jplovescotton.files.wordpress.com/2011/05/img_7167.jpg', 'id': '5672', 'caption': ''} , { 'src': 'http://jplovescotton.files.wordpress.com/2011/05/img_7169.jpg', 'id': '5673', 'caption': ''} , { 'src': 'http://jplovescotton.files.wordpress.com/2011/05/img_7170.jpg', 'id': '5674', 'caption': ''} , { 'src': 'http://jplovescotton.files.wordpress.com/2011/05/img_7174.jpg', 'id': '5675', 'caption': ''} , { 'src': 'http://jplovescotton.files.wordpress.com/2011/05/img_7176.jpg', 'id': '5676', 'caption': ''} , { 'src': 'http://jplovescotton.files.wordpress.com/2011/05/img_7177.jpg', 'id': '5677', 'caption': ''} , { 'src': 'http://jplovescotton.files.wordpress.com/2011/05/img_7193.jpg', 'id': '5678', 'caption': ''} , { 'src': 'http://jplovescotton.files.wordpress.com/2011/05/img_7196.jpg', 'id': '5679', 'caption': ''} , { 'src': 'http://jplovescotton.files.wordpress.com/2011/05/img_7214.jpg', 'id': '5680', 'caption': ''} , { 'src': 'http://jplovescotton.files.wordpress.com/2011/05/img_7215.jpg', 'id': '5681', 'caption': ''} , { 'src': 'http://jplovescotton.files.wordpress.com/2011/05/img_7332.jpg', 'id': '5682', 'caption': ''} , { 'src': 'http://jplovescotton.files.wordpress.com/2011/05/arkansas-river-levels.jpg', 'id': '5685', 'caption': ''} , { 'src': 'http://jplovescotton.files.wordpress.com/2011/05/missouri-river-levels.jpg', 'id': '5686', 'caption': ''} , { 'src': 'http://jplovescotton.files.wordpress.com/2011/05/ms-river-mo-ar.jpg', 'id': '5687', 'caption': ''} , { 'src': 'http://jplovescotton.files.wordpress.com/2011/05/tn-river-stream-flow.png', 'id': '5688', 'caption': ''} ] ; slideShow.init(); } ); […]

  2. Watching the Great Flood of 2011 Crest – Another Word-filled Wednesday « a colorful adventure - May 11, 2011

    […] has been quite a week to be a Memphian. Talk of the flood of 2011 seems to have started months ago (even I wondered how much the heavy snowpack would mean to us), but it really didn’t get my […]