Reducing the Impact of Disasters Through Education
State Information

2011: Spring Melt


Spring Melt, mid-summer heavy rains and dam releases have created misery through much of the Mississippi River watershed and the northeastern states. The soils in these areas remain saturated and unable to accommodate rains dropped across the area by Hurricane Irene on August 28. This Spring Melt page provides immediate access to EDEN's flood resources and the experiences and activities of states that have been fighting recent floods. A similar page will be set up for the Irene floods.

Extension educators and agents: If you were in the path let us know how your are. If you are engaged in flood preparedness, flood damage reduction and/or flood recovery efforts,
please SEND US A NOTE either by email
or using our online form. 

Use "Hurricane Irene 2011" as the event name for floods attributed to this storm.

Dam Release on the Rising Missouri River 

Inundation map - Carrollton Area

Flooding from this event is expected to continue in some places into October. We are no longer tracking the event, but continue to receive Response Notes from those dealing with the water, using the "2011 Spring Melt" event name.

Visit the Corps Omaha District 2011 Flood Information Page for updates.

The Corps Kansas City District has posted inundation maps viewable in Google Earth, from Rulo, NE to St. Louis, MO.  This Corps Kansas City District 2011 Flood Information Page provides a link to the Inundation Maps page.

The alert: Initial press release from Corps of Engineers Omaha District. Initial paragraphs read:

May 26, 2011

Omaha, Neb. – Releases from the Missouri River reservoirs will reach historic levels in the coming weeks, the result of above-normal snow in the mountains and extraordinary rain over the last several weeks.  Significant flooding in cities, towns and agricultural land is expected in North and South Dakota with many areas from Sioux City, Iowa, to the Mississippi rising above flood stage.

Flows from five of the six dams are expected to reach a record 110,000 cubic feet per second (cfs).  The previous high releases were 70,000 cfs in the fall of 1997.  “Public safety is our number one concern,” said Brig. Gen. John McMahon, commander of the Northwestern Division of the Army Corps of Engineers.  “We are working closely with state and local emergency management teams to identify potential flood areas, provide residents with the most current information and help protect vital public infrastructure.

 “People along the river are encouraged to make evacuation plans to protect their possessions and property. Maps for potential flood areas will be available at  and from local emergency management offices,” he added.

Flooded areas are expected to be inundated for several months.

A press release in Holt County, MO, gave the following advice: Local residents and visitors staying within the flood plain are encouraged have an Action Plan:

    • Monitor the river levels, watches and warnings
    • Prepare and plan
    • know where you are going if you are required to evacuate – tell someone
    • have a phone number exchange with family, friends and neighbors
    • have your medicines in an easy to reach container -take it with you if you are required to evacuate
    • take your pets out with you, if required to evacuate
    • take important documents – birth certificates, marriage licenses, social security cards, etc. – with you if you are required to evacuate

Stay on top of current river stages and forecasts at .


Featured Resources 

For the Missouri River "June" event, new resources are being offered in response to special requests from delegates.  See the "Resources Collected" page (left nav bar).

For areas recovering and rebuilding from the spring tornados and first wave of destruction along the Missouri, Ohio and Mississippi Rivers, some states are using these:

  • Storm Recovery Guide: A 32-page booklet with the combined content of about 30 fact sheets (Louisiana). Missouri also picked up Navigating the Post-Disaster Mortgage Issues (PDF) and Keeping Food and Water Safe Before, During and After a Disaster.  
  • Exercising in the Heat: Includes tips for avoiding heat illness (Missouri) 
  • Recovery after Disaster: Family Financial Toolkit: discusses strategies and provides tools that can help you move along the road towards financial recovery. (Minnesota)
  • Disaster Recovery Resource Fairs: A Disaster Recovery Resource Fair is a local, one-stop shop for disaster victims to access multiple assistance programs at one location. Holding Disaster Recovery Resource Fairs in the affected community can help reduce many barriers people may encounter as they attempt to access disaster assistance programs and services. (Minnesota)
  • Community Organizations Active in Disaster (COAD) Guidance Manual This document (PDF) was written to help all community organizations and individuals understand how collaborative efforts can prepare communities for disaster. The main goals of these collaborations are to help communities avoid some disasters and recover from other unavoidable disasters. (Indiana adapted from/with Missouri).
  • Rebuilding Resources: an extensive web site developed for recovery from mass devastation (Katrina and Rita in south Louisiana). From getting started (recovery, getting your finances in order, thinking about what you want to do), to building codes and permits, and hazard-resistance, energy efficiency and indoor air quality in designing, rebuilding and repairing homes. Connects with the Louisiana House Resource Center and Family Resource Management, Food and Nutrition, engineering, pest control and lawn and landscape programs.

EDEN has two preparedness courses that could be useful in this pre-melt period:

Family Preparedness: An instructor-lead program Extension educators and others can use to teach families and individuals how to make family disaster kits, develop a family disaster plan, and be informed about and prepared for various disasters.

Ready Business: Developing a Business Continuity and Disaster Preparedness Plan for Your Business. Designed for land-grant university specialists, Cooperative Extension Service educators/agents, business leaders and others to teach small- and medium-sized business owners and managers how to prepare for disasters

For farm and agribusiness prepardness, check out the Purdue publication:

Plan Today for Tomorrow's Flood: A Flood Response Plan for Agricultural Retailers provides information about planning for a flood. 

An online version of the magnet that accompanies this publication is available at

First Steps to Flood Recovery (Purdue Extension)

Talking About Disaster: Guide for Standard Messages - Floods/Flash Floods (Red Cross)

Hearing Impaired: Flood Cleanup Information - The modules are presented via video in international sign language and cover - from the Texas Department of Public Safety.

  1. Dangers after a Flood
  2. Tips about Food after a Flood
  3. Wounds and Floodwater
  4. General Flood Cleanup

Mold - EDEN Topic Page - Provides information and resources on the prevention, cleanup, and health effects of mold.

For a detailed look at reducing damage to homes exposed to shallow flooding (less than 3 feet), take a look at this collection provided by the LSU AgCenter:

Preventing Flood Damage: Information includes performance-level fact sheets and over and over 80 minutes of videos on permanent and temporary measures that can prevent or reduce damage from rising water. Note that the information is developed for Louisiana climate, soil conditions and typical flood characteristics, and thus may not be transferable directly to other states. However the basic principles involved would apply.


EDEN Helps now! 

EDEN began it's coverage of the 2011 flood season in mid February as concern developed over the record amounts of snow that was dropping across the country's mid-section and up toward central Canada and New England. As the snows began to melt, and spring rains were heavy, flooding was widespread - in rivers flowing north - into Canada - and south, winding up eventually in the Mississippi River.

As the second wave is hitting in May and June on the Missouri River, EDEN has been forwarding requests for assistance from individual states and collecting responses.  See "Resources Collected" (left nav bar) for these results. A similar page was created for the spring tornadoes.

Early season activities

Flood Preparation Webinar - The 1.5-hour webinar was hosted by Dr. Ken Hellevang, NDSU Extension Agriculture Engineer, and was offered twice.  

Ready Business Train-the-Trainer Webinars we offered March 2, 4 and 11. These webinars introduced EDEN's Ready Business resources to Extension educators and others to help them lead the program in their communities.
EDEN provided the following general messages early in the season:

Help your communities prepare

  • Know YOUR risk - talk to your local emergency manager
  • Prepare yourself and your Extension office for floodling
  • Help your local communities prepare to protect and recover
  • Help consumer clients be informed, know their risk and prepare and protect themselves 

Principal messages for clientelle:

Important Flood Insurance Facts

  • Flooding is not covered by homeowners insurance, a separate policy is required
  • There is a 30-day waiting period between purchase and coverage becoming effective (with a few exceptions)
  • Flood insurance covers damage caused by rising water - building and contents coverage is provided in two separate policies, except when written as Preferred Risk. Coverage purchased as a requirement for getting a mortgage typically covers on the building, not the contents.
  • Flood insurance provides up to $1,000 to protect an insured building and $1,000 to protect insured contents. Receipts are required, flood must be reasonably expected; the policy deductible is not applied. (See coverage C on the Dwelling form)
  • Flood insurance pays up to $30,000 toward the cost of elevating a home if it was substantially damaged by the flood and is being required to elevate before being restored (see Coverage D on the Dwelling form).


Gauges, Forecasting and Outlooks 

River Forecast Centers map

NOAA's National Weather Service (NWS) operates 13 River Forecast Centers across the United States. River Forecast Centers collect, process, and provide forecasts and information about water resources for major river basins across the country. This network is supported by the extensive gauge system of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and gauges operated by the Corps of Engineers and others.  Current stages, river forecasts and precipitation can be accessed directly at .

A general outlook for significant flooding can be viewed at NWS National Significant River Flood Outlook. The Flood Outlook is not intended to depict all areas of minor flooding or small-scale events such as localized flooding and/or flash flooding.

The National Snow Analysis offers many opportunities to view snow - its depth, water-equivalent, temperature and other parameters that are used by flood forecasters to predict spring flooding. One could spend many hours studying the overlay of Rivers and Streams on the Snow Depth. Choose the Interactive Maps on the National Snow Analysis page.


Last Updated:11/1/2012 9:08 AM

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