Major Flooding Inundates US, Canada Communities This Week

By , Senior Meteorologist
July 11, 2014; 4:15 AM ET
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In the wake of torrential rain in recent weeks, flooding will continue to work downstream along multiple rivers in the North Central United States and in South Central Canada this week.

Flooding overwhelms Crooked Lake, Saskatchewan on July 4, 2014. (Sean Schofer/TVN)

Along portions of the Mississippi River in Iowa, Illinois and Missouri, water levels have reached or are forecast to reach major flood stage. Flooding begins along unprotected areas of rivers when water levels reach flood stage. Major flood stage, the most severe flood level, begins when extensive inundation of structures and roads takes place.

In many cases, water levels are just a few feet short of record levels, spilling into unprotected waterfront locations, towns and farmland.

Over the Fourth of July weekend, the Mississippi River spilled into portions of town at Davenport, Iowa. The river crested at 20.94 feet, or major flood stage.

On the Mississippi, the crest will continue to work downstream through the middle of July. The river is not projected to return to within its banks until late in the month.

A crest near 33 feet is projected at St. Louis by National Weather Service hydrologists this weekend. While water levels at this height pose only minor problems, more rainfall than officially forecast on the region may result in higher water levels and a delay when the river will return to within its banks.

According to AccuWeather Chief Meteorologist Elliot Abrams, "The weather pattern through at least the middle of the month will feature additional rounds of storms over portions of the northern Plains and Midwest that could aggravate the flooding situation."

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While strong July sunshine and warmth lead to high evaporation of soil moisture, the storms are likely to remain frequent enough through the middle of July to continue to cause significant runoff into area small streams and then progressively larger rivers.

In some cases, more than a foot of rain fell during June over the central and northern Plains to the Upper Midwest. Additional heavy rain hit parts of the region during the first few days of July.

The Mississippi River had just slipped below flood stage at St. Paul, Minnesota, over the July Fourth weekend. High water flooded docks and closed multiple barge terminals at St. Paul during late June.

Farther north, the Red River, which flows northward from the Dakotas and Minnesota to Canada, was causing major problems this week.

A State of Emergency was declared by Manitoba, Canada, Premier Greg Selinger for part of the province, including the Winnipeg region, late last week. The measure joined dozens of Saskatchewan communities already under the declaration.

In an attempt to reduce the risk of an uncontrolled breach in levees protecting the Manitoba city, some of the flow from the Red River will be directed into a much less-populated region.

A high volume of water was moving in from the west along the Assiniboine River, which feeds into the Red River.

According to the Canadian Press, the deliberate flooding of 150 homes and more than 350 square miles (225 square km) is an effort to save hundreds more downstream.

Serious flooding has been occurring along the Assiniboine River, west of Winnipeg, as well as along other rivers in the Canada province of Saskatchewan.

In Saskatchewan and southwestern Manitoba, damage from flooding in 2014 could exceed that of 2011.

According to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Brett Anderson, "Brandon, Manitoba, received close to 10 inches of rain (250 mm) during June, which is more than three times the normal amount."

"A large portion of southern Saskatchewan and Manitoba has received 1 1/2 to 2 times their normal rainfall during the past 30 days."

Assistance from the Canada military was being requested to shore up levees along the Assiniboine, the Canadian Press stated.

The flooding over the Central U.S. and in South Central Canada is occurring later in the season than what typically occurs. High water in the region is more common during or soon after snow has melted over the region during the spring.

Thumbnail image: Corn plants sit in a flooded field, Monday, June 30, 2014, near Dallas Center, Iowa. The area is located along the Raccoon River. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)


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