Early outlook for spring flooding: Fair to middling

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Not too bad. Could be worse. Pretty much OK, probably.

No, forecasters did not really use that language. But if you're looking for a word to sum up the early assessment of Minnesota's spring flood risk the operative term might be "average."

That's how a National Weather Service meteorologist described it to KSTP at the Governor's Homeland Security Conference on Thursday. Dan Luna told the station "It's not a bad one. It's not necessarily a good one."

There's a lot of snow on the ground but experts say its water content is not as high as it might be. And, as usual, the speed of the warmup during March and April will be the key to spring flooding.

As of Thursday, though, KSTP says the Weather Service called the flood risk below average on the St. Croix and the lower Mississippi. It's about average on the upper Mississippi and above average on the Red River, which floods nearly every year.

A late January report from the Weather Service office in the Twin Cities said the snowpack in central and southern Minnesota and western Wisconsin is average or below. Only the Long Prairie River in Minnesota and the Chippewa River in Wisconsin were given a better than average chance of flooding. A new outlook will come out in late February.

If you're really into handicapping flooding odds, the Weather Service's Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service is apparently a go-to resource.

The U.S. Geological Survey and Minnesota's Department of Natural Resources also have links to more info.

At an agricultural conference in Wisconsin this week a meteorologist predicted another late planting season for the state's farmers, followed by a cooler-than-usual growing season, Agri-View reports. The precipitation outlook for the next couple of months? About normal.

More or less round about okee-doke, you might say.

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