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Forecasters Predict A 'Potentially Unprecedented Flood Season'

The NOAA spring outlook map shows all of Iowa at elevated risk of moderate to major flooding through May.

More flooding is forecast for Iowa and much of the U.S. as spring arrives.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has released its spring outlook, predicting the majority of the country is favored to experience above average precipitation this spring.

The Midwest has already experienced historic flooding this month, and NOAA predicts continued snow melt and additional rain will prolong and expand the flooding. Nearly two-thirds of the lower 48 states are at an elevated risk for flooding through May.

“This is potentially an unprecedented flood season,” Ed Clark, director of NOAA’s National Water Service in Alabama, said. “The flooding we have seen the past two weeks will continue through May and may become more dire in the coming weeks as these waters flow downstream.”

The upper Mississippi River region has already seen up to 200 percent more precipitation than average so far this year, much of it in the form of snow that hasn’t completely melted.

Experts expect the flooding to get worse before it gets better.

“The major flooding we’ve already experienced across the lower Missouri and the middle to lower Mississippi valley is a preview of what we expect through the rest of the spring. In fact, we expect the flooding will get worse and become more widespread,” said Mary Erikson, deputy director at the National Weather Service.

NOAA said Iowa counties closest to the Missouri and Mississippi rivers are at an elevated risk for major flooding. The rest of the state is at a moderate flood risk through May.