Professional Paper 1798–B
Excessive precipitation produced severe flooding in the Mississippi River and Red River of the North Basins during spring and summer 2011. The 2011 flooding was caused by weather conditions that were affected in part by a La Niña climate pattern. During the 2010–11 climatological winter (December 2010–February 2011), several low pressure troughs from the Rocky Mountains into the Ohio River subbasin produced large amounts of precipitation. Precipitation was above normal to record amounts in parts of the Missouri River, Red River of the North, and upper Mississippi River subbasins, and mostly normal to below normal in the Ohio River and lower Mississippi River subbasins. During the 2011 climatological spring (March–May 2011), a large low pressure trough over the continental States and a high pressure ridge centered in the vicinity of the Gulf of Mexico combined to produce storms with copious precipitation along frontal boundaries across the Central States. Rain totals recorded during the April 18–28, 2011, precipitation event were more than 8 inches at several locations, while an impressive total of 16.15 inches was recorded at Cape Girardeau, Missouri. Several locations in the Missouri River subbasin had rainfall totals that were nearly one-third to one-half of their 1971–2000 normal annual amounts during a May 16–31, 2011, precipitation event. During June and July, thunderstorm development along frontal boundaries resulted in areas of heavy rain across the Missouri River, Red River of the North, and upper Mississippi River subbasins, while rainfall in the lower Mississippi River subbasin was mostly below normal.
First posted March 11, 2013
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Vining, K.C., Chase, K.J., and Loss, G.R., 2013, General weather conditions and precipitation contributing to the 2011 flooding in the Mississippi River and Red River of the North Basins, December 2010 through July 2011: U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 1798–B, 22 p.
General Weather Conditions
Precipitation on the Mississippi River Basin
Precipitation on the Red River of the North Basin