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Ohio River at moderate flood stage, showing signs of early flood season

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(WSIL) -- Mary Lamm, a Hydrologist with the National Weather Service office in Paducah, says river flooding is off to an early start again this year.

"Last year we had flood season start early, and we're doing the same thing again this year."

Lamm says river flooding is a part of a bigger pattern that has brought a lot of moisture to the region

"As far as it becoming common, we've just been in a very wet pattern for well over a year now, we've had very wet seasons since late 2018."

Massac County Engineer, Joe Matesevac, says last year's flooding put more than half a dozen roads under water, but he emphasizes that Massac isn't the only county that has been dealing with river flooding.

"Massac County is just one of the half dozen or dozen counties along these rivers in southern Illinois that has to deal with it every year. "

Lamm notes that both the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers have big impacts on counties in our area.

"It really depends on where the heavy rain falls. Whether it falls in the Mississippi basin, whether it falls in the Ohio basin, or a combination of the two, maybe somewhere in between.That really determines which river may be higher, or have both up at the same time."

Even though we haven't seen much this year, snow is also a factor.

"But as far as our spring flood outlook, a lot of what we do look at is rainfall and snowfall especially that has fallen across the northern parts of the basin, and how that all melts out through the spring will also determine the height of our rivers," says Lamm.

Lamm adds that the Clarks River is flooding due to backwater from high waters on the Ohio.

John Ross

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