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Now time for spring flooding

Warm, cool, rain and snow on tap

Warm, cool, rain and snow On TAP

MONROE - It's beginning to look like spring in Wisconsin.

Today, March 10, promises to be warm and sunny with a high of 51 degrees, according to the National Weather Service. If that happens, it would shatter the previous record high for March 10 of 44 degrees set in 2009.

The low overnight will dip back down to the freezing mark.

On Tuesday, March 11, there's a chance of rain, along with a high of 41. The low overnight will be 22 with a chance of snow.

Temps will be a little cooler on Wednesday, March 12, with a high of 30 and a low of 16. A slight chance of snow continues Wednesday.

The sun should make a welcome return on Thursday, March 13; the high is forecast to reach 39 with a low of 30.

Hydrologist warns of floods if snow melts quickly

MADISON (AP) - If all the snow that fell this winter melts too quickly, there could be severe flooding in areas of Wisconsin, according to the National Weather Service.

The ripening flood conditions have been caused by higher-than-usual snowfall and frost depths nearing 8 feet in some places.

"If the melt comes too quickly, we could see some pretty good flooding. It's still far away, but we see the conditions are laid out," said Steve Buan, the senior hydrologist for the National Weather Service's North Central River Forecast Center in Chanhassen, Minn.

The frost can cause problems because water will have trouble seeping into the ground, and that forces the runoff into the rivers, Buan told the Wisconsin State Journal. The frost is particularly hard, too, because of adequate moisture in the soil going into the winter. That makes it even more impenetrable, he said.

Unlike most years, there was not a warm stretch in January or February to help melt some of the snow.

He warned that cities along the Wisconsin, Rock, Fox, Pecatonica and other state rivers should prepare for flooding. The Portage area is the biggest concern because of an expected overload from melting snow in northern Wisconsin flowing down the Wisconsin River.

Heavy snow also covers southern Wisconsin, around the Rock and Fox rivers. And marshes and other areas that handle overflow from those rivers are already saturated from floods of the past few years, he said.

Another problem is when heavy ice in the rivers and streams breaks off during the melt and causes ice jams, which can cause flooding "in places where you're not expecting it," Buan said.

Flooding could also impact urban areas away from rivers. There is a potential for flooded basements, said Ken Potter, a civil and environmental engineering professor at University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Homeowners should move snow away from the foundations of their homes, especially if it has piled up significantly, Potter said.

"There's a lot of water that has to move. It's a little unprecedented," Potter said. "And if it can't move away from my house, it will end up in my house."

A forecast of warmer, rainy weather has led the state Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection to ask farmers to avoid spreading manure over the next week because there's a high risk for it to run off into surface and groundwater.