This year, with the coronavirus measures keeping so many of us indoors, the notion of rebirth and rejuvenation associated with spring especially resonates. Yet certain parts of the country dread the spring because melting snow and ice, combined with spring rainstorms, can swell river levels, flooding farmland, overwhelming roads, and testing the strength of levees and dikes.
With spring upon us, 24/7 Wall St. has created a list of the places that are expected to be hit hardest by spring flooding. We reviewed data from The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s 2020 National Hydrologic Assessment to compile our list.
According to the NOAA report, this spring 128 million people face a higher flooding risk, with 28 million at risk for moderate or greater flooding, and 1.2 million at risk for major flooding. Millions of people at risk live near rivers in the Midwest and Great Plains states of Iowa, Illinois, North and South Dakota, and Minnesota.
In sections of South Dakota, last year’s flood season has never really ended. According to The Weather Channel, two river measures on the James River in eastern South Dakota had readings above flood stage — the level above which a rise in water can cause inundation — for a year or longer as of April 2 because of relentless snowfall and rain, which have saturated the soil.
“The river levels never fell in the winter because the ground was fully saturated when it froze last fall,” said Amy Parkin, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service office in South Dakota on nasa.gov. “As the snow and river ice melted over the past few weeks, the water had nowhere to go.”
This raises concerns that this year could bring some of the most damaging floods on record. Here are the worst floods in American history.