Flooding in the U.S. Could Be Worse Than Ever This Spring

March 22, 2019, 1:36 PM UTC

The year 2019 has already been a bad one for weather. First, massive winter storms in February paralyzed much of the country. Next was the so-called bomb cyclone that helped create immense flooding across the Midwest, offering devastation of farms.

And that may be just the beginning. The U.S. could be in for the worst flooding on record, according to recent forecasts.

A combination of snow melt, ongoing rain, and ice jams have caused the historic flooding so far. Feeding into already difficult conditions are more snow yet to melt and predictions of more rain storms into May. According to federal officials, 200 million people across 25 states face a risk of flooding. The Mississippi River basin has already received three times its normal amount of annual rainfall.

Because land masses are saturated with water, more rains could run right over them without being absorbed, increasing the flooding risk. Officials are predicting that the results could be worse than record flooding that hit the Missouri River in 2011 and the Red River in 2009.

Scientists cannot tell to what degree the flooding owes to climate change. But the storms would be following a pattern of extreme weather.