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National Weather Service releases Flood Outlook for Spring of 2014


National Weather ServiceNashville, TN – The spring flood outlook for 2014 is average across Middle Tennessee for the spring of 2014. There is an average risk for flooding across the mid-state. Precipitation, and resulting stream flows have been typical for the winter season, although temperatures have been running well below normal. Recent heavy rains have brought minor flooding issues to the area, however river levels continue to subside and all rivers are below action stage.

Existing conditions

Soil moisture remains elevated due to seasonal precipitation patterns and also with the recent rainfall. Once spring green up occurs, vegetation will begin to use this moisture, and more rainfall will be needed before soil saturation occurs. Therefore, once plants and trees are no longer dormant our flood risk lowers slightly.

Winter temperatures have been well below normal, with January recording average temperatures as cold as 5 to 10 degrees below normal, and February recording average temperatures of 2 to 5 degrees below normal. This unusual cold spell led to a few frozen ground issues, but a recent moderation of temperatures and a rising sun angle has alleviated concerns.

Precipitation has ranged from slightly below normal to slightly above normal across middle Tennessee. This winter around the Nashville area reports indicate above normal precipitation, while observations from Clarksville and Crossville indicate these areas may be as much as 1 to 2 inches below normal. This may help to lower the flood risk slightly this spring, especially once vegetation greens up.

Meteorological outlook

The climate prediction center forecasts indicate there are equal chances to a slightly higher probability of colder than normal temperatures across middle Tennessee for the month of march, with equal chances of above, below, or normal precipitation. Current model guidance supports this trend, which may lead to a later green up of vegetation across the area.

For the March-April-May time frame, the climate prediction center forecasts indicate there are equal chances to a slightly higher probability of higher than normal temperatures across the mid- state. Additionally, there is as much as a 40 percent chance of higher than normal precipitation impacting the area during the spring months.

Spring flood outlook

The overall spring flood outlook is average, based on the current conditions and forecasted trends. A later than normal spring green up is anticipated, so a heavy rain event that occurs before then will have a greater impact versus the same event occurring post-green up.

There currently is no flooding occurring or expected in the short-term, but the higher probability of above normal precipitation, likely in April, may lead to higher river levels especially if vegetation is still dormant.




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