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National Weather Service releases 1st flooding outlook for spring 2022

Des Moines Water Works says they are prepared for any outcome following the National Weather Service's first spring flooding outlook.

DES MOINES, Iowa — This year's spring flooding risk is expected to be at or below average, according to the National Weather Service's first outlook released Thursday.

There are various factors when making these assessments such as the rate of snow melt and future precipitation.

"We're expecting a near-normal risk of flooding, so we're not seeing signals or anything abnormal. The big thing is just going to be the future precipitation. That's going to be a big deciding factor in if we see flooding or maybe not see flooding," said Jeff Zogg, a hydrologist with National Weather Service Des Moines.

Of course, flooding can have a big impact on drinking water sources, adding more contaminants that must be removed. Des Moines Water Works Chief of Operations Kyle Danely wants the community to know tackling the issue is not new to them. 

Come rain or shine, their flood plan is ready to be implemented.

"Des Moines Water Works has an extensive flood plan. So we monitor river gauges upstream for flooding potential," he said. "When flooding is predicted, we certainly will react to that based on the levels that are predicted."

After dealing with historic floods in recent years, DMWW has made changes to the levies to minimize issues in the future.

"We have raised the levees up significantly and have had multiple significant floods near those elevations," Danely added. "Certainly, losing intakes or wells going underwater could be risks, but we have mitigated all of that by raising them to elevation so that they are not impacted by current flooding."

The National Weather Services wants people to know that although Iowa is sitting in a good place now, the chance of severe flooding is not off the table.

"Things can change very rapidly we can go into the spring season as we're seeing now with the near-normal flood risk but then we could have a couple of heavy precipitation events, a couple of heavy rainfall events for example that may ramp up the flooding threat." Zogg said.

This is the first of three spring flooding outlooks from the national weather service. The other two are set to be released Feb. 24 and March 10.

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