How the northern snowpack could affect flooding in the Heartland

How northern snow impacts Heartland floods

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - You wouldn’t think snow up north would affect us here in the Heartland, but when that snow melts it travels south and that could mean trouble for us.

Right now, the river in Cape Girardeau, Mo. is already at flood stage and if the snowpack melts rapidly the river could rise a lot quicker. That’s why Cape Girardeau Public Works crews are keeping a close eye on it.

“Many people are misinformed that if it rains in Cape it floods in Cape and that’s not the case,” said Stan Polivick with Cape Girardeau Public Works.

When it comes to monitoring the river levels, Polivick has to keep an eye on weather activity up north rather than locally.

“What happens in Iowa and Nebraska and South Dakota has a lot of impact on the flood levels here as opposed to local rain events,” said Polivick.

Chief Meteorologist Grant Dade says the dark blue area represents over 20 inches of snow on the ground, which is anywhere between 6 and 10 inches of rain.

Thankfully, Grant said he doesn’t see it all melting in one day.

“The majority of the eastern part of the United States looks to be below average especially over that deep snow pack and as we look the following week we are still below average which makes me think for at least the next two to three weeks the majority of the snow pack will probably stay in place,” said Dade.

Polivick said as they monitor the snowpack they will continue their normal routine to prevent flooding in our area.

“We’ll be closing the north river gate Friday afternoon and the pedestrian gates downtown have been closed for a few days and by the forecast it looks like the river will be above flood stages for the next 10 or 12 days,” said Polivick.

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