A forecast update provided by our colleagues from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Lower Mississippi River Forecast Center (LMRFC) is attached. This update was released in response to the first significant rise of the year for the Lower Ohio and Mississippi Rivers, cresting conditions at the conjunction of the two rivers at Cairo, IL are expected next week.
The following details are reproduced from the attached report:
Heavy rainfall is forecast over the Lower Mississippi, Tennessee, and Ohio Valleys over the next 7 days. Rainfall amounts of 3 to 6 inches is forecast for this area and the first significant rise of the season will occur over the lower Ohio and lower Mississippi Rivers in the coming weeks.
Minor to isolated moderate flooding will occur on smaller tributaries in Missouri, Arkansas, Tennessee, and Mississippi over the next few days.
Based on rainfall over the next 2 days, the lower Ohio River at Cairo, IL is forecast to crest at 45.0 ft on February 28th. Minor to moderate flooding is expected on the lower Ohio River over the next couple of weeks.
As the crest moves downstream, minor flooding may be possible on the lower Mississippi River at New Madrid, MO, Caruthersville, MO and Osceola, AR. Crests on the remainder of the lower Mississippi River should remain below flood stage. Cresting conditions are not expected to reach the New Orleans, LA until mid-March. (A crest of 10.6 feet is presently predicted for the Carrollton Gage at New Orleans on March 18, 2022.)
The 16-day future rainfall guidance shows crests 1 to 2 feet higher on the lower Ohio River and the stages remaining above flood stage until mid-March. The forecast crest levels are similar to levels experienced in March 2021.
A few locations on the lower Mississippi River might reach minor flooding but most locations will remain below flood stage.
The 16-day future rainfall guidance is showing slightly higher crest values from the current forecast but those levels have come down from previous runs.
We will closely watch the rainfall over the next several days and we’ll send out another update on Friday.