National Weather Service: Low Spring Flooding Risk This Year

After a devastating flood season last year, warm winter gives most of U.S. a reprieve from spring worry.

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Areas regularly devastated by springtime flooding should get a reprieve this year, according to the National Weather Service.

Due to an unusually warm winter nationwide, there's not much built up snow to melt this spring, Laura Furgione, deputy director of the National Weather Service, told reporters during a conference call.

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"We're getting a much-needed spring break this year," she said. "This is the first time in four years without a high risk of major flooding. The limited snowfall over the winter was key."

She said people living along the Red, Missouri, and Mississippi rivers should experience a "spring very different from last year's," when major flooding devastated those areas for months at a time. Nearly the entire Southwest is at a below normal risk of flooding, as are the Southeast and parts of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Iowa. Only parts of Louisiana, Mississippi, and the Ohio River Valley are at an "above normal" risk for spring flooding.

"What a difference a year makes," she said. "Last year, almost half the country had an above-average risk of flooding, and parts of those areas had a high risk."

Although the National Weather Service doesn't expect much seasonal flooding this spring, Furgione warned that heavy rainfall "can lead to flooding at any time, even in areas where the overall risk is low."