Spring outlook feature risk for flooding in the Carolinas

Spring is right around the corner! The equinox is Sunday, March 20, signaling a change in the weather. On Thursday, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration or NOAA released their outlook on spring. The forecast has some positives but also some things we need to pay close attention to.

One of the big headlines heading into spring is winter’s near record El Niño pattern begins to relax a bit. However, the effects of El Niño are still present over the next several months as a return to a more neutral set up isn’t expected until the summer.

The next three months, over all, look to bring above average temperatures. As always, we can get cool spells but for the most part it should be a warm spring.

Rainfall also looks above average for the season. This brings up some concern for forecasters. NOAA placed the Southeast US under a moderate risk for flooding this spring.

A couple of factors are compounding that risk on top of the increased precipitation. Our soil is still fairly saturated following the floods in October and a fairly active winter. This means the ground won’t be able to take on as much water in one sitting as it could if we were a bit drier. Also, the water reservoirs upstream that feed into our area rivers are still elevated following the floods. The reservoirs are being slowly drained so as not to cause flooding, however several heavy rains in a short period of time could cause those reservoirs to overflow and need to release more water. The concern is especially high along the coast since the water needs to go through our area to get to the Atlantic Ocean.

One thing helping our forecast, we haven’t seen much rain over the last month or so, allowing us to dry out a bit.

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