Massive river flooding in Central US to continue for weeks

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

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Gabe Schmidt, owner of Liquid Trucking, back right, travels by air boat with Glenn Wyles, top left, Mitch Snyder, bottom right, and Juan Jacobo, bottom left, as they survey damage from the flood waters of the Platte River, in Plattsmouth, Neb., Sunday, March 17, 2019. Hundreds of people remained out of their homes in Nebraska, but rivers there were starting to recede. The National Weather Service said the Elkhorn River remained at major flood stage but was dropping. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
An orange windsock is seen at Offutt Air Force Base in Bellevue, Neb., site of the bases' flooded runway, Sunday, March 17, 2019. Rising waters from the Missouri River flooded about a third of the base, including about 3,000 feet of the base's 11,700-foot runway. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
A BNSF train sits in flood waters from the Platte River, in Plattsmouth, Neb., Sunday, March 17, 2019. Hundreds of people remained out of their homes in Nebraska, but rivers there were starting to recede. The National Weather Service said the Elkhorn River remained at major flood stage but was dropping. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
Gabe Schmidt, owner of Liquid Trucking, right, talks to Glenn Wyles, second right, as they survey by air boat flood damage from the flood waters of the Platte River, in Plattsmouth, Neb., Sunday, March 17, 2019. Hundreds of people remained out of their homes in Nebraska, but rivers there were starting to recede. The National Weather Service said the Elkhorn River remained at major flood stage but was dropping. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
Gabe Schmidt, owner of Liquid Trucking, top right, travels by air boat with Glenn Wyles, top left, Mitch Snyder, bottom left, and Juan Jacobo, bottom right, as they survey damage from the flood waters of the Platte River, in Plattsmouth, Neb., Sunday, March 17, 2019. Hundreds of people remained out of their homes in Nebraska, but rivers there were starting to recede. The National Weather Service said the Elkhorn River remained at major flood stage but was dropping. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
Vice President Mike Pence and Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, second right point to flooded areas, with Neb. Gov. Pete Ricketts, left, during a helicopter flight over areas affected by the flooding of the Missouri and Elkhorn Rivers, Tuesday, March 19, 2019, in Nebraska. Pence flew to Omaha, Neb., Tuesday to view damage and to offer support to first responders, volunteers and those displaced by the floods. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
Vice President Mike Pence, center, flies by helicopter over areas flooded by the Missouri and Elkhorn rivers, with Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, right, and Neb. Gov. Pete Ricketts, left, Tuesday, March 19, 2019. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
This Tuesday, March 19, 2019 aerial photo shows flooding along the Missouri River in Pacific Junction, Iowa. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says rivers breached at least a dozen levees in Nebraska, Iowa and Missouri. Hundreds of homes are damaged, and tens of thousands of acres are inundated with water. (DroneBase via AP)
Akashi Haynes, left, and her daughter Tabitha Viers carry their belongings rescued from their flooded home in Fremont, Neb., Monday, March 18, 2019. Authorities say flooding from the Platte River and other waterways is so bad that just one highway lane into Fremont remains uncovered, and access to that road is severely restricted. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
A BNSF train sits in flood waters from the Platte River, in Plattsmouth, Neb., Sunday, March 17, 2019. Hundreds of people remained out of their homes in Nebraska, but rivers there were starting to recede. The National Weather Service said the Elkhorn River remained at major flood stage but was dropping. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
Cars sit in flood waters from the Platte River alongside a BNSF train, in Plattsmouth, Neb., Sunday, March 17, 2019. Hundreds of people remained out of their homes in Nebraska, but rivers there were starting to recede. The National Weather Service said the Elkhorn River remained at major flood stage but was dropping. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
Flooded RV's, washed away by the flood waters of the Platte River, are seen in Merritt's RV Park in Plattsmouth, Neb., Sunday, March 17, 2019. Hundreds of people remained out of their homes in Nebraska, but rivers there were starting to recede. The National Weather Service said the Elkhorn River remained at major flood stage but was dropping. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
RETRANSMISSION TO CORRECT SURNAME - Tom Wilke, center, his son Chad, right, and Nick Kenny, load a boat out of the swollen waters of the North Fork of the Elkhorn River after checking on the Witke's flooded property, in Norfolk, Neb., Friday, March 15, 2019. Heavy rain falling atop deeply frozen ground has prompted evacuations along swollen rivers in Wisconsin, Nebraska and other Midwestern states. Thousands of people have been urged to evacuate along eastern Nebraska rivers as a massive late-winter storm has pushed streams and rivers out of their banks throughout the Midwest. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
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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.

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.

river flooding 3-20-2019

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.

weekend outlook 3.21 AM

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.

Download the free AccuWeather app to receive the latest flood advisories and forecast information for your area.

 

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