Following a massive accumulation of ice this week, rain that will be accompanying a warm-up this weekend will bring a potential risk of major flooding and ice jams to the Midwest and Northeast. This rain will spread from west to east on Friday night, going into Saturday night. This cell will last less than 24 hours in most, but enough rain can fall in that period to cause problems. A lot of rain in a short amount of time can lead to one thing: rises on streams and flooding in areas with poor drainage. Because of the subzero temperatures, the amount of ice on rivers and streams is substantially increasing in the northern regions of the Midwest and Northeast. Temperatures are on this rise though, and millions of people across the eastern half of the country are welcoming this rise gladly.
As rain and warmer conditions set in for the weekend, the areas with the greatest risk of flooding are Pennsylvania, western New York, New England, Indiana, and northwestern Ohio according to the National Weather Service. There is definitely a potential for flooding, accompanied by ice jams over the weekend; which can be expected mostly on streams and smaller rivers in New York to Massachusetts. Residents living in the Midwest and Northeast will be going from one extreme to the other, because the areas that were hit hardest with snow and frigid temperatures will the areas with the warmest weather and most rain over the weekend. Because there is a large amount of snow on the ground in much of Indiana, Ohio, and Michigan, these states can also expect minor flooding along with the mild air that is traveling that way.
All of these conditions are dependent on three factors: the thickness of the ice, the temperature of the rainfall, and the characteristics of each river and stream. A general prediction of the total rainfall for this weekend is .5 to an inch, with locally higher amounts expected over the weekend. If more rain falls than was predicted, the risk of widespread flooding will increase. Many of the areas that will be receiving rain do not have enough snow on the ground to add to the runoff. But, a lack of snow cover and frozen ground conditions can lead to quicker runoff and scattered problems where the ice jams up.
According to the National Weather Service, the areas near the Canadian border will not have to worry about flood issues. They will not receive enough rain and high enough temperatures to cause the rapid melting and shifting of the ice that would cause flooding.
Ice dams may also be a problem for homeowners. An ice dam is when snow builds up on the roof of your home and thaws, then refreezes and puts pressure on the roofs structure. When there is a potential for flooding, there is also a potential for flooded basement problems as well. If you need services due to water in your home or the removal of ice dams, remember to call the professionals at We specialize in helping property owners recover from any size disaster, and our team.