MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – As high temperatures are above freezing and the lows are below freezing, it’s a perfect slow snow melt scenario, and one of the few reasons flooding this spring won’t be as bad as the last.

“The outlook for spring flood potential seems to be much lower than in a typical year and that’s a big change from what we had the last several years,” said Mike Welvaert, the Senior Hydrologist at the North Central River Forecast Center.

The main factor is the amount of snow.

“Past years we had a lot more snow on the ground and it has lasted a lot later into the season,” said Welvaert. Minnesota also had a wetter fall in 2019. “The soils were very, very moist, we had a lot of rain into the fall,” he added.

But not this past fall. In 2020, Minnesota saw virtually no precipitation. It was so dry in fact that parts of Minnesota are currently classified as abnormally dry or even in moderate drought.

“We have some room in the soil for some water . . . rather than letting it get to the rivers,” said Welvaert.

The snow melt is already on across the state. “I was looking at a satellite image just before we got started on here parts of Minnesota have virtually no snow on the ground,” he said.

The rest of it should mainly be gone by Saturday or Sunday, but there is still one problem every year that is difficult to predict: ice jams.

“I am concerned with this melt popping some of that ice and causing ice jams. That is one concern we have that could cause some flooding,” said Welvaert.

Lisa Meadows