Zach’s Weather Whys: The four stages of river flooding

Zach's Weather Whys

CENTRAL ILLINOIS (WMBD) — Welcome to this week’s edition of Zach’s Weather Whys.

River flooding can be a problem anywhere including here in Central Illinois. The river grows in levels called stages and there are four of them.

When a river first reaches flood stage, it experiences minor flooding. This presents minimal or no property damage but it does pose a threat to the public, such as inundated roads or routes. Moderate flooding can call for people to evacuate since some structures are likely to take on water at this point.

Major flooding is most likely going to bring the worst impacts. Series of roads, homes, and property are flooded at this stage. In low lying areas near the river, evacuations are usually needed.

Major flood stage is at the top of the list and in a league of its own. Neighborhoods in the affected area take on significant flooding. Homes can be lifted off the foundation and even sent downriver.

In May of 2019, the Illinois River at Peoria flooded the banks at the fifth-highest level in recorded history. The river maxed out at 28 feet that month, missing the highest crest by about one foot. That crest was caused by a very wet spring with multiple periods of heavy rain.

Looking ahead for spring of 2020, the National Weather Service says areas that easily flood
could see flooding, primarily caused by spring rains.

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