Cooler spring increases chances of flooding - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

Cooler spring increases chances of flooding

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It was a perfect start to the spring season Thursday as many people headed outdoors to enjoy temperatures well above 60 degrees.

On such a warm, sunny day many people were thinking about gardening and planting projects and just getting outdoors. But unfortunately the National Weather Service in Sioux Falls is expecting a colder than average spring, which could delay planting season by a few weeks this year.

The still frozen ground could also increase the chance of some flooding this spring—it's why FEMA and the National Weather Service are working to make sure farmers and homeowners across South Dakota are prepared.

This week is National Flood Safety Awareness Week, reminding people to be prepared for the possibility of a flood.

"March is a season that sort of kicks off severe, weather snow melt that results in flooding, so March is a good time to remind people to be prepared," said Jerry DeFelice with FEMA.

Farmers and homeowners can prepare by taking a look at their insurance policies to make sure they are covered for flood damage, while also working to prevent any major losses.

"There are really simple steps that people can do around the home, such as taking your valuables out of your basement if you know you're subject to basement flooding," said DeFelice.

This year, preparing for the possibility of a flood is even more important because of the deeper-than-average freeze.

"Some places are saying they have six to 7 feet of frost in the soil, so anything that has melted so far from the snow that we did have has already ran off down the river or is sitting pond-up in a field somewhere waiting for the soil to thaw," said Mike Gillispie, a Hydrologist for the National Weather Service in Sioux Falls

If the soil does not thaw soon, it will also create run-off problems as new spring precipitation comes our way.

"Lets say you were to get a serious rain event, it wouldn't percolate or move through the soil as rapidly as you might otherwise occur," said DeFelice.

"If you do get a late winter snow storm, one of those heavy wet snow storms—if that melts quickly, or if you get early spring rain fall, the amount of run off from that is going to be a lot higher than normal if those soils are still frozen," said Gillispie.

This year's extreme deep freeze was cause from a lack of snow accumulation to act as a blanket for the soil this winter. So believe it or not, a lot of snow over the winter can actually help spring and summer come a little sooner.

This year, we're going to have to depend on some more warm days like Thursday and a slow rain to help thaw the soil.

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