Late spring arrives in North America bringing manageable flooding

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Spring has arrived and temperatures have risen steadily across much of North America after a prolonged winter of unrelenting cold and snow in some major cities. 

Minnesota’s twin cities – Minneapolis and St Paul – staggered into April with snow on the ground and daytime temperatures around freezing. A final mass of snow piled up mid-month with 30cm on the ground to greet commuters on Monday, April 16. Then came the thaw.

It took five days to melt, but no snow was reported at the measuring station in the twin cities on April 22. Temperatures peaked at 22 degrees Celsius two days later and have remained in the teens ever since.

Melted snow brought the spring floods.

Moderate flooding is expected on the Mississippi River near St Paul and Hastings, Minnesota, in the coming week.

Flooding was also expected along the Missouri River in South Dakota. Flooding was ongoing or was forecast to develop on numerous rivers in the Midwest and northern Plains, thanks to runoff from April’s snowmelt. No heavy rain events coincided with the thaw, so widespread major flooding was not expected.

The late, quick thaw and flood created saturated soil conditions and delayed the planting of the spring wheat crop. Farmers in South Dakota had planted only two percent of their spring wheat crop by April 22, according to That compares poorly with the five-year average (2013-17) of 50 percent by that date.

The current benign weather conditions may not last. Severe thunderstorms may develop next week, which may worsen flooding, at least from Minnesota southwards.

With thanks to

SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies

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