Modestly warm temperatures this week are causing creeks and rivers to flow in Lake County, which may reduce potential flooding later.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency and others have been urging Missouri River basin states to prepare for potential spring flooding. While we aren't close to a major river, Lake County still has potential for flooding due to the size of the watershed.
September rains pushed creek flows out of their banks, causing substantial damage in Madison and the rest of Lake County. Because the ground is still saturated from that event, snowmelt or rains could cause more problems.
That's why we're glad to see water flowing in creeks. Quick observations of Lake Herman, Silver Creek, Memorial Creek and Lake Madison this weekend showed water flowing visibly or under the ice. It isn't enough of a flow to cause problems, but enough to start removing the snowpack that's accumulated over the winter.
The more water we can get downstream, the more capacity we have to handle more water.
Which brings us to another point: Floods in our area aren't usually caused by spring snowmelt, but by substantial rains. The flood of 1993 took place in July, the 2012 flood was in May and 2019 was in September, all due to heavy rains.
So if some of the snow and ice can melt and flow this week, and we can have "normal" rains, we may avoid too much water this year. Even so, we urge preparation, in case a heavy rainstorm comes our way.
-- Jon M. Hunter