Color map of the United States showing where minor, moderate, and major flooding is likely

Prepare For Elevated Flood Risk Coming This Spring

  April 23, 2019

By Naomi Millán

Spring 2019 is shaping up to be a potentially unprecedented flooding season, with two-thirds of the lower 48 states facing an elevated risk for flooding through May, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) U.S. Spring Outlook report. The Midwest and South are expected to be especially hard hit, with the flooding risk area expanding as waters from snowmelt and rainfall move downstream.

The areas of greatest risk for moderate to major flooding include the upper, middle, and lower Mississippi River basins including the mainstem Mississippi River, Red River of the North, the Great Lakes, eastern Missouri River, lower Ohio, lower Cumberland, and Tennessee River basins, says NOAA. Some of the areas have received precipitation this spring up to 200 percent above normal.

Even in areas where the overall flood risk is low, heavy rainfall from a thunderstorm can still cause localized flooding and overwhelm stormwater infrastructure. Before facing down an urgent alert of an incoming storm, facility managers should be sure to have supplies on hand to protect their campuses and address any water intrusion quickly. Other measures to take include moving sensitive equipment and materials to higher elevation whenever possible, and pre-arranging for priority with key disaster restoration, fuel, and other critical service vendors.

Naomi Millán is senior editor of Building Operating Management. 


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