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NCRFC Spring Hydrologic Outlook

Please Note...Information about current river forecasts can be found by clicking on a river forecast point on the NCRFC Home Page. This will take you to the Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service (AHPS) Home Page. From there you can link to a Weather Forecast Office Home Page where you can find more detailed statements and warnings about current river conditions.


 A quantified risk of flooding with respect to climatology is available through web graphics and tables at NWS Long_Range Flood Risk, along with links to Weather Forecast Office Home Pages.

2021 Probabilistic Hydrologic Outlook - Spring Flood and Water Resources Outlooks
scheduled  release:
Thursday March 11, 2021

NOAA National Spring Outlook Media briefing anticipated on Thursday March 18, 2021


Overview of NCRFC Early Spring Conditions

The warm weather we’ve had for the past several weeks has melted the majority of the snow across the NCRFC service area. Satellite imagery and the NOHRSC Interactive Snow Information webpage both indicate that the only snow of any magnitude is confined to northeast Minnesota, northern Wisconsin, northern lower Michigan, and the Upper Peninsula. The greatest depth is over the upper Peninsula area, with the remainder of the region having less than 6 inches. There are a few spots that still have snow on north-facing slopes and in sheltered areas, but that is rather negligible in how much water can be contributed to runoff.

Water equivalent in the remaining snow is an inch or less for most everywhere, with the exception of a few isolated spots up to 2 inches, and the Upper Peninsula still has 5 to 8 inches in the typically snowy area in the lee of Lake Superior.

Reports from across the region confirm what we had speculated earlier in this outlook process. Dry soils and limited frost depth seemed to limit the runoff. Usually when we have melting snow, there are large puddles and standing water in low spots and ditches. But there is very little of that noted this year. So it seems a great deal of the water has soaked in. River rises are occurring, but overall is much less than in a typical spring melt season.

We are already issuing forecasts for around 50 locations as a result of the snowmelt runoff. But this is a lower number than in a usual spring season, and all but 2 of those forecasts are for only within-bank rises below Flood Stage.

Our risk for flooding from this point forward is therefore tied to future precipitation events.

The outlook from the Climate Prediction Center for the next 6-10 days suggests temperatures near or cooler than normal, with precipitation near to above normal. The expected temperature trend appears to be cooler than normal for the remainder of the month as well, but precipitation will be near normal.

Your North Central River Forecast Center will continue to monitor water and weather conditions, and forecasts will be issued as necessary.



Climate Summary ... Snow condition images will be updated with Outlook Issuance
MRCC Climate Watch
High Plains RCC
USGS Waterwatch
USGS WaterWatch
US Drought Monitor
US Drought Monitor
Current snow and soil conditions

NCRFC Frost Depth

NOHRSC Snow Depth

NCRFC Simulated SWE

Climate Outlook

CPC 6 to 10 Day Outlook

CPC 30 day Outlook

CPC 90 Day Outlook