The Hazards of Warm Weather and Melting Snow
As temperatures warm and the snow slowly starts to disappear, you might start thinking about getting outside more. However, one potential hazard that you may not have considered is flooding.
The snow melting that occurs in the spring tends to happen gradually and can help replenish moisture to the soil. However, when the snowpack is deep and melts rapidly, the potential for flooding increases because the land cannot absorb the resulting meltwater fast enough. Frozen ground, heavy rain while the melting is occurring, or previous high soil moisture can also lead to flooding.
Winter flooding. It’s just as dangerous as any other type of seasonal flooding. Some conditions that can cause winter floods are coastal surge, ice jams, and rapid snowmelt. This is why it’s important to be protected year round and ready for anything. #lifewaterproofed #neptune pic.twitter.com/xr9MHIvMQz
— Neptune Flood (@NeptuneFlood) February 5, 2019
In addition to flooding, landslides and debris flows are also potential hazards as the snow melts.
Snow melt and rain is increasing landslide threats through Friday for Western Wash. lowlands below 1,500 feet, @NWSSeattle reports. There are a lot of warnings signs of landslides, but here are 4 to start. About landslide hazards in our state ➡️ https://t.co/mpf4wjD7nq #Wawx pic.twitter.com/Vmvhs9MiQu
— Washington State Dept. of Natural Resources (@waDNR) February 14, 2019
Last April, snowmelt flooding occurred in portions of Montana, causing a state of emergency. On the 19th, the Milk River reached a flood stage of 13.93 feet, the highest level observed since 1952.
Perspective: the top photo is what Milk River near Havre looked like on a fall day, flowing 50cfs. Today (bottom photo), the flow is over 7200cfs. (Avg for today is 400cfs.) Red line in both photos appx same location. Real-time data: https://t.co/XYYV1gkA4m pic.twitter.com/ZPoGG639HA
— USGS in Montana (@USGS_MT) April 18, 2018
Warmer weather is around the corner and if you have a lot of snow to melt, keep in mind that there is a potential for flooding. Are you concerned about flooding as the snow melts where you’re located?