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1A Snow is going, going, gone

By Mike Klein and Jeffrey Pieters

Post-Bulletin, Rochester MN

If spring seems distant, consider this: your lawn should be visible by the end of the day, if it’s not already.

The snow cover, which was 9 inches as recently as Friday and 18 inches in late December, is expected to be largely melted after highs in the 40s Monday and today.

The melt is leading to plenty of water runoff, and area rivers are expected to rise today. Weather officials are monitoring them but don’t expect flooding.

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"You know, our rivers have been handling the snow melt this far pretty well," said Jessica Brooks, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in La Crosse. "There’s still plenty of room in most of the rivers to handle that water."

The National Weather Service issued a warning that the melting could cause some localized flooding along area rivers and low-lying areas, as well as possibly some ice jams.

The Zumbro River had risen about 1 1/ 2 feet since Monday, but remains well below flood stage.

Gary Neumann, assistant city administrator, said the snow cover doesn’t seem to be as heavy as it was preceding the 1965 or 1969 floods. Water levels that he can see on the Zumbro River from his office do not appear out of the ordinary. "Right now, we’re not seeing much of anything."

He noted that the last few days of temperatures slightly higher than freezing probably helped.

"Obviously, a slow, gradual melt is a good thing," he said.

The warmth isn’t expected to last. The high Wednesday is expected to be 36, Thursday, 31, and Friday, 30.

"We’re probably going to cool down by end of the week and remain near normal next week," Brooks said. "Certainly, we have the potential to see more snowstorms before the winter is over."

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For more information, go to Postbulletin.com/weblinks.

National Weather Service hydrologic prediction service http://www.crh.noaa.gov/ahps2/index.php?wfo=arx

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