FAIRWAY, KS (KCTV) - The lion isn’t roaring as we start March. No, it’s more like the gentle meow of a house cat. We can sit back and enjoy a great stretch of weather to start the month.
Temperatures over the next week are expected to stay above average and there are indications above average warmth will carry right through the middle of the month. Here’s the latest 14-day temperature outlook from the Climate Prediction Center. This temperature outlook runs through March 15.
It might be too early to say goodbye to Winter’s cold. March always has a wild card day where it’s brutally cold with snow flurries. But with average daytime highs and overnight lows climbing rapidly this month, any shot of cold air we get probably won’t stick around for more than a day. On top of warm temperatures, March also looks to start with near or below average rainfall. Here’s the CPC’s 15-day outlook for rainfall.
That might be good news for anyone anxious about Spring flooding across the Midwest, well at least in the short term. There is still snow on the ground over the northern part of the Missouri River basin. Four to 12 inches of snow were measured over parts of South Dakota, North Dakota, Minnesota and Montana over the weekend. Here’s a look at the current snow depth as of Monday morning, March 2.
Below average rainfall and a slow gradual snow melt may help to hold off springtime flooding along the Missouri River and streams that feed the “Big Muddy” but only hold off flooding temporarily. When the ice jams on the river and the deeper snow in South Dakota start melting, the melted water will run off into streams that feed the Missouri River.
The Spring Flood Outlook along the Missouri says the Spring flood risk is above normal again this year. Last week, The Missouri River Basin Forecast Center based in Pleasant Hill, Missouri, released a flood outlook. Here’s a portion of that statement:
“Flood risk this Spring is above normal for much of the Missouri River basin this year. The largest departure from normal flood risk exists in the eastern portion of the basin, where chances for flooding are anywhere from 10 percent to as much as 70% greater than normal. The area of very much increased risk includes eastern North Dakota, eastern South Dakota, eastern Nebraska, western Iowa, eastern Kansas and across the state of Missouri.”
“The Missouri River itself below Gavins Point is also projected to experience flooding this Spring and early Summer. Moderate level flooding is likely from Nebraska City to the mouth. As we move later into the season, major level flooding downstream of Kansas City cannot be ruled out. Many of the levees along the Missouri River downstream of Gavins Point have yet to be fully restored after the 2019 flood. Although the National Weather Service is in continual communication with other federal agencies with regard to current stage-flow relationships, river stage forecasts this coming year have a high degree of uncertainty due to the current state of the channel and overbank areas.”
2019 was the third wettest year over the Missouri River basin, only 1995 and 1993 were wetter. That means the soil over the Missouri Basin is already wetter than normal, so the longer we can avoid heavy thunderstorms the better. But that’s a double-edged sword. It’s been a week since we’ve had measurable rain and it might be another week before we get another round of rain. That means the top soil for recreational gardens and lawns is drying out. We do see a chance of rain coming in Sunday night and Monday morning.
At this point, the rainfall amounts appear to be a half inch or less. Again, in the short term, it’s just what we need. Let’s hope Spring’s heavier thunderstorms don’t arrive until after a majority of the snow melts, giving the chance for more water to run through the river basin.
The next Spring Flood Outlook will be released March 12. That’s about 10 days away. In the meantime, sit back and enjoy early March as it purrs like a kitten.