On the Radio: Record rainfall leads to intense flooding along Mississippi River


Flooding in St. Louis, one of the hardest-hit areas along the Mississippi.
Flooding in St. Louis, one of the hardest-hit areas along the Mississippi.
KC McGinnis | January 4, 2016

This week’s On The Radio segment looks at how an unseasonably wet December in Iowa has affected millions along communities downstream on the Mississippi River. Listen to the audio below, or continue reading for the transcript.

Transcript: Wet winter leads to flooding

Unprecedented rainfall in Iowa last month has led to intense flooding along the Mississippi River from Missouri to Texas.

This is the Iowa Environmental Focus.

The rise of the Mississippi River to near record levels, highly unusual for this time of year, has affected millions of people so far and has already been linked to 20 deaths. A major factor in the flooding is the wet winter in Iowa. That’s according to Iowa Flood Center director Witold Krajewski.

“When winter storms in December come as rain, the potential for flooding is high. The ground is wet and saturated, often frozen, vegetation is dormant or absent, and runoff goes to streams and rivers.”

Iowa’s December rainfall came in what the Iowa Environmental Mesonet called mind-blowing totals – likely the heaviest precipitation ever to hit the state during winter. And with increased moisture in the atmosphere due to global warming, Krajewski believes these heavy and unpredictable weather patterns are becoming the norm.

“While it is difficult to say how often we should expect significant rainfall in December, we all are learning to expect the unexpected when it comes to weather.”

Keep up to date with Iowa weather patterns at IowaEnvironmentalFocus.org.

From the UI Center for Global & Regional Environmental Research, I’m KC McGinnis.

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