CHANHASSEN, Minn. – Hydrologists are sifting through critical data and information that will help determine the spring flooding forecast.
"Snow samples are probably the most important piece of data that we get this time of year," says Craig Schmidt, a service hydrologist at the National Weather Service in Chanhassen.
Crews from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have fanned out across the state conducting snow surveys. The teams are measuring snow depth, collecting samples and weighing them all in an effort to find out how much moisture is contained in this year's snow.
The Corps of Engineers uses the information for projects but also passes it along to the National Weather Service for further study.
"We look at snow and soil moisture as well as frost depth and determine the flooding threat," says Schmidt. "We currently have an average threat, but if we get a major rainstorm on top of the snow that could change the threat."
At this point, hydrologists are predicting a cooler spring which would keep the flooding risk low, but a week of above average temperatures could shift that forecast.