The flooding disaster that continues to unfold over the central United States is likely to continue well into April, putting more communities and farmland at risk.
The disaster was set in motion during the second week of March, when a 'bomb cyclone' struck the region, dropping heavy rain and triggering massive snowmelt, which led to an excess of runoff into rivers and waterways.
The flooding has led to several deaths, the evacuation of an entire town in Missouri and over $1 billion in damage thus far.
RELATED: Flooding in the Midwest
More lives and property will be threatened by rising water levels in the days and weeks to come.
"River and stream flooding will continue over a large portion of the middle to upper Mississippi Valley, Corn Belt and parts of the central Plains right into April," said AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Jack Boston.
Snowmelt in the region between Nebraska and Iowa contributed to rapidly rising water levels along the Missouri River over a four-day period, as seen here by #GOESEast. More imagery: https://t.co/6eJqIkYXrupic.twitter.com/FRi0WoiJsi
— NOAA Satellites (@NOAASatellites) March 19, 2019
While rivers are receding across the hardest-hit areas of eastern Nebraska and western Iowa, water draining downstream is causing the Missouri River to rise across northeastern Kansas and Missouri.
The Missouri River at Rulo, Nebraska, hit a record crest of 28.14 feet late Wednesday, which exceeded the previous high mark of 27.26 feet set on June 27, 2011.
Farther downstream at Atchison, Kansas, the river's water levels are on the rise and will near the record crest of 31.63 feet by this weekend, according to hydrologists at the National Weather Service.
The surge of water will cause modest rises across the balance of the river in Missouri, with minor to moderate flooding forecast to continue into next week.
Meanwhile, the span of the Mississippi River remains at various flood stages.
Water levels are on the decline south of the Mississippi River's confluence with the Ohio River. However, water rises are forecast farther north as runoff from an impressive snowpack enters the basin.
There are 2-10 inches of water locked up within the snow cover across the northern tier of the Central states, according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski.
The Mississippi River at St. Paul, Minnesota, is forecast to reach major flood stage by the end of March.
"It is possible that many parts of the Mississippi River will remain above flood stage through the spring and into the first part of the summer in the slow-moving natural disaster," Sosnowski said.
The flooding is likely to ensue even if the snowmelt is not accompanied by one or more soaking rain events.
Motorists are reminded never to drive through floodwaters or around barricades marking off a flooded, closed road. Instead, turn around and find a safer, alternate route.
In the short term, no major storms are forecast to roll through the nation's midsection.
One system that will spark thunderstorms across the southern Plains on Friday will bring some rain to Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri and Iowa this weekend.
While heavy rain is not anticipated with this event, any wet weather is unwelcome at this point.
There may be another larger storm that will roll through the central U.S. with rain during the latter half of next week.
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