U.S. weather officials warned on Thursday that the country and 200 million of its inhabitants are at risk for record-setting floods this spring season.
Many states are currently experiencing a post-winter deluge, including Nebraska, Iowa, South Dakota and Missouri. But Mary Erickson, deputy director of the National Weather Service, says they’re expecting the flooding to “get worse and more widespread.”
Erickson further adds that this year’s floods could be worse that anything that we’ve seen in recent years, even against the historic floods of 1993 and 2011.
According to experts, almost the entire eastern two-thirds of the nation could see flooding this spring.
The destructive deluge last week in areas from Minnesota to Missouri has already claimed the lives of at least four people and caused more than a billion dollars in estimated losses and damages. The floods have also destroyed more than 2,000 homes.
Scientists have pointed the cause of this month’s flooding to rapid snow melt combined with heavy spring rain and late-season snowfall in areas where the ground was already heavily saturated.
Forecasters are eyeing all three Mississippi River basins (the Red River of the North, the Great Lakes, and the basins of the eastern Missouri River, lower Ohio River, lower Cumberland River and the Tennessee River) as the biggest risks.
According to Thomas Graziano, the Director of the Office of Water Prediction at the National Weather Service, the floods will heavily depend on how much rain will fall in the coming months, but forecasters are already saying that it will be more than average.
Ed Clark, director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Water Center says the widespread flooding in the past couple of weeks “will continue through May” and expects it to get worse as the water flows downstream.
“This is shaping up to be a potentially unprecedented flood season, with more than 200 million people at risk for flooding in their communities,” Clark also said.
Are you among those who are at risk of this spring’s floods? Be informed and increase your chances at survival with these handy tips to surviving floods.