Lack of snow reduces Mississippi flood risk: NWS

  • Market: Agriculture, Biofuels, Chemicals, Coal, Coking coal, Fertilizers, Freight, Metals, Oil products, Petrochemicals
  • 15/03/24

The Mississippi River faces below normal flood risk this spring because of historically low snowpack, meaning barges carrying fertilizer and other commodities may experience fewer delays from high water.

The lack of snowpack in the Mississippi River basin resulted from persistent drought since last September and unseasonably warm temperatures across the Northern Plains, which prevented a base layer of heavy snow from forming, the National Weather Service (NWS) said in its final spring flood outlook on 14 March.

Meteorologist Brennan Dettmann told Argus there is no snowpack in Minnesota, with only a light covering along the northern border, making for one of five driest years since the NWS began recording snowpack in 1872.

There is no snow at the Minneapolis-St Paul International Airport this week compared to 10 inches of snow on the ground a year ago. This year, the most amount of snow on the ground at the airport was 7 inches on 14 February, according to NWS.

Risk of flooding for the upper Mississippi River and tributaries will be entirely dependent on rainfall, with much of the basin already in a precipitation deficit because of the drought.

Barges have been navigating through the upper Mississippi and will soon reach the Twin Cities after locks open tonight at midnight. This time last year, tows were just breaking the ice on Lake Pepin, signaling safe passage to begin through the upper Mississippi River.


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