Questionable: Will we have flooding?
Each week we answer questions our readers have asked. What do you really want to know? Drop us a line; maybe we can help.
“With all the snow we have gotten in the past month, what would be the optimum spring scenario so we don’t have any flooding? Is it a given that the area will experience flooding no matter what?”
– Stan, Rhinelander
The Star Journal asked Matt Serwe, a meteorologist with WJFW TV 12 in Rhinelander. Serwe responded:
“I’ve been doing some research on your question, and it’s really typical given the forecast for the next couple of weeks.
“The historic Leap Day snowstorm followed by a prolonged stretch of spring-like weather is not the best scenario for the Northwoods. We have roughly 18-24 inches of snow on the ground, containing about 2-5 inches of liquid water. Beneath that, there is about 8-12 inches of frozen ground. The snow pack continues to insulate the ground as it melts, causing the water to go anywhere but in the ground.
“Ideally, a period of above freezing afternoon temperatures with sub-freezing morning lows would allow the water to gradually flow into sewers and streams without issue. However, with a prolonged stretch of mild weather-as we will see over the next 10-14 days-the snow will melt rapidly. The water has to go somewhere, so it will quickly find low-lying areas and waterways, possibly leading to rapidly rising rivers. Any rainfall would also exacerbate a flooding concern, adding more water to the equation.
“While flooding does not appear immanent across north-central Wisconsin, the next couple of weeks are looking rather soggy.”
Editor’s note: Send in your questions to Starjournal@jcpgroup.com, or mail them to the Star Journal, 24 W. Rives St., P.O.?Box 558 Rhinelander, WI?54501.